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Canyons Launches Student, Employee Coronavirus Testing

It’s free, it’s fast, and it promises to be a valuable addition to the tools Canyons District schools have at their disposal to help stop the community-spread of COVID-19. 

In line with new state requirements, Canyons District’s high schools on Monday, Nov. 30 began administering rapid COVID-19 testing to all students and employees involved in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned activities, including sports and performing art programs. The testing is free for students and will be administered by specially trained staff every 14 days as a prerequisite for participation in practices, rehearsals, competitions and performances. 

“Students and staff members may elect to not be tested. But doing so would preclude the person from participating in athletic or extracurricular activities by order of the Utah Department of Health,” says CSD’s Responsive Services Director BJ Weller. “Extracurricular activities have been shown to pose a higher risk for transmission of the virus. By testing and isolating those who test positive, the state hopes to reduce that risk while enabling students to continue to enjoy extracurriculars safely.”

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CSD Streamlines Notification Process for Students After Possible COVID-19 Exposure

Canyons District has streamlined the family-notification process when it has been determined through the contact-tracing process that a student may have been exposed at school by student or employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

To ensure that families receive the notification, parents of children who will need to quarantine will receive an automated phone call and an email. Parents also will receive a text message if they have signed up for that service in Skyward. The process was put into place in recent weeks and has proven effective in immediately notifying parents of this important information.  

The official information will come from the Canyons school nurses, who are at the forefront of the District’s COVID-19 response. Canyons District nurses work hand-in-hand with the Salt Lake County Health Department and other health authorities to confirm test results, conduct contact tracing, answer questions of parents, students and employees, and help track the District’s overall COVID-19 cases. 

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COVID-19 Update • Utah Announces New Safety Measures

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced new safety measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Canyons District has already been practicing some of the precautions that are now being enforced statewide under penalty of fines, including the requirement to wear face coverings. But the governor’s executive order, coupled with a concurrent health order by the Utah Department of Health, contains some new restrictions that pertain directly to schools. The orders took effect today, Monday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. and will remain in effect through Nov. 23, or until otherwise modified. For a full copy of the governor’s order, click here.

The Operation of Schools

CSD schools will continue to operate in alignment with guidelines established by the Utah State Board of Education and Canyons Board of Education.

Face Masks

The State Public Health Order requiring masks in schools is still in effect. There remain exceptions for children under three years of age or who have special medical considerations.

Extracurricular Activities, Including Sports, Clubs and Performing Arts Events 

In accordance with the governor’s announcement and in line with Utah High School Activities Association guidelines, all after-school activities, including clubs, sports and performing arts activities have been placed on hold at least until Nov. 23. All winter sport practices, competitions and tryouts have been postponed. Theatrical, dance and musical performances and rehearsals also have been placed on pause. Per the governor’s order, high school football championship playoffs will continue as scheduled under a strict set of guidelines. After-school tutoring and academic enrichments may continue depending on the school’s offerings. At the elementary level, recess will continue as usual. 

Driver Education and High School Courses that are Dedicated to the Practice of Music, Theater, Dance, and Physical Education

All academic courses will proceed as scheduled, including driver education instruction, performing arts and athletics classes and physical education courses. Extra precautions will be taken to limit respiratory output in indoor settings. 

State Football Playoffs

Per the governor’s Executive Order, football championships will continue as scheduled. Each participant, including athletes, coaches, trainers, and staff members must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the event. Athletes also must wear face coverings while on the sidelines. The governor’s order limits spectators to no more than two guests per athlete, coach, trainer or staff member. All spectators must wear face coverings and remain at least six feet apart from individuals from different households. There will be no cheerleaders, drill and dance, or marching band performances at the playoff games. 

Future Testing of Employees and Students

Arrangements are being made now to administer COVID-19 testing to the athletes and staff who are participating in the football playoffs. We await further direction from state authorities regarding the availability and administration of any future testing of other school-based populations. 

School-Based Meetings

All previously-scheduled PTA and School Community Council meetings will be conducted virtually.

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