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State leaders in letter to schools: here’s how to go remote without ‘Test to Stay’

Jan 13, 2022, 1:21 PM | Updated: 3:00 pm

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Viewmont High School student Aubrey Weeks is hugged by her mother and Davis School District COVID aide Brenda Weeks after her COVID-19 test at the school in Bountiful on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. The school conducted testing on Wednesday after recent COVID-19 cases among students pushed it past the "test to stay" threshold, where they are required to test students. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Sound up for Speaker of the House Brad Wilson on an alternative for ‘Test to Stay’

SALT LAKE CITY — Every school in Utah received a letter on Thursday, spelling out a plan by which schools can move to online instruction without using the Test to Stay protocols.

KSL obtained the letter, signed by the House Speaker, the Senate President, Gov. Spencer Cox, and the Utah State Superintendent, Dr. Syd Dickson.

House Speaker Brad Wilson confirmed on KSL NewsRadio that the letter went to all schools, as well as the challenges schools are facing with the Test to Stay Protocols.  And he announced that he and other lawmakers were considering pausing the Test to Stay program for Utah schools.

The letter sent to Utah schools directly addressed the toll of limited testing capacity within the scope of the Test to Stay protocols.

In the letter, state leaders explained that because of the large number of schools impacted by the current surge of COVID-19 cases, they are going to be more flexible to allow districts to move to remote learning.

State requirements for schools to move online

Utah schools have to meet some requirements in order to move to online instruction:

  • schools must reach the Test to Stay case threshold,
  • the school’s local school board or charter school governing board must approve the move, and determine that the risks of staying in person outweigh the benefits,
  • and the school or governing boards must ensure there is a plan in place to return to in-person instruction.

If all the criteria are met, schools can move to online learning either next week or the week after.

The letter also said lawmakers plan to address the crisis with the omicron variant and testing issues next week during the first week of the 2022 legislative session.

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State leaders in letter to schools: here’s how to go remote without ‘Test to Stay’