Alta, Brighton high schools pivot to online learning; Copper Hills students to return to school Wednesday

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Canyons School District schools — Alta and Brighton high schools —will transition to online learning for 14 days starting Thursday following what the district described as “a sustained increase in COVID-19 cases.”

Students will not attend school Wednesday to give faculty and staff a day to prepare to teach virtual classes for the next two weeks.

Corner Canyon High was placed on online learning for two weeks last week after an outbreak. Charri Jensen, a career and technical education teacher at the school, was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator for treatment of COVID-19. She remained hospitalized Tuesday but her condition is improving, according to her daughter Talesha Jensen.

Across the valley, the Jordan School District met Tuesday night and agreed to allow Copper Hills High School students and staff to resume a normal schedule with school activities starting Wednesday.

Some 2,500 students are attending the school in person. The school has 16 active COVID-19 cases, 14 of them among students and two paraprofessional employees.

Earlier in its meeting, the board adopted new parameters when active cases trigger discussions about schedule changes and other mitigation efforts. In Copper Hills’ case, the 16 cases did not reach the 1% threshold.

Copper Hills High School was closed Tuesday for “deep cleaning and thorough disinfection of the building” after public health officials “identified more than 15 active cases of COVID-19 within the … school,” according to the school’s website. All classes and activities at Copper Hills were canceled but virtual parent-teacher conferences were to continue as scheduled.

Under state guidelines, when a school reaches the threshold of more than 15 cases within a two-week period, the Salt Lake County Health Department recommends that the school shift to online learning and suspend activities. But some school districts are adopting their own thresholds and deciding whether to suspend activities depending on numbers of cases within specific groups or teams.

This is the second time in less than a week that the Jordan board has scheduled a meeting to address COVID-19 outbreaks in its schools.

After 17 positive COVID-19 cases at Riverton High School, the board voted Sept. 16 to close the school for two days for deep cleaning and then conduct remote learning that Friday.

School resumed on a normal schedule Monday, but officials plan to issue a vigilance letter and monitor coronavirus cases to see if additional actions are needed.

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