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2 Utah schools quarantine students after 1 COVID-19 case on each campus

School is back in session today for most districts across the state, which has some worried about a potential spike in coronavirus cases following Thanksgiving break. (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio)

ERDA, Utah – Two Utah schools have issued quarantines for several of their students, after some members of the school population tested positive for COVID-19. 

A few days ago, Excelsior Academy in Erda, Utah learned that one person at the school had become sick with COVID-19. 

Executive Director Stephanie Eccles said that’s when the school conducted extensive contract tracing — which led to the entire first grade class being quarantined. 

“We now have so many that had contact — not a positive case but had contact — with that person,” Eccles said. “We’re going to have an online model for our first grade only.”

Online classes will start Sept. 8 and Eccles said she hopes it will only last a few weeks.

Eccles stressed that the school is following Tooele County Health Department guidelines, and parents have been understanding with its decision. 

Similarly, Sand Ridge Junior High School in Roy also decided to quarantine 100 students after one case on campus. 

Weber School District Community Relations and Safety Specialist Lane Findlay acknowledged the decision may seem like a head scratcher for many people — considering children are at a low risk of getting a serious case of COVID-19. 

However, he said it was done to protect people’s health. 

“We do have students who are at high risk,” Findlay said. “We have staff members or teachers who are high-risk, that maybe have underlying health conditions. If they were to contract [COVID-19], it really could be a matter of life or death.”

Like Excelsior Academy, the quarantine was a precautionary move. 

“Our goal in this is to minimize the potential spread of the virus, to protect other people’s health, and then prevent an outbreak from happening where we may have to eventually shut down the school,” Findlay said.

Typically, quarantines for COVID-19 last two weeks to outlive the 14-day incubation period of the virus.   

It’s unclear whether it was a student or staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 at Excelsior Academy, as the school does not publicly release private medical information.

However, the Weber School District confirmed it was a student at the junior high who came down with the virus. The district did not expand on that description.