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COVID-19 FAQ

On August 20, 2021, Mayor Erin Mendenhall ordered a mask mandate in K-12 schools in Salt Lake City. Until further notice, masks and face coverings must be worn by all students, parents, visitors, and Salt Lake City School District employees. Parents of students with health conditions and those with disabilities may speak with their child’s school principal to request a mask exemption.

Masks and Face Coverings

Q: Are students, employees, parents, and visitors required to wear masks or face coverings in schools?

A: To comply with the mayor’s order, students, employees, parents, and visitors to our schools and district buildings are required to wear masks.

Mask use outdoors

Q: What is the mask protocol for outdoor activities?

 A: Students, parents, employees, volunteers, and visitors will be required to wear a mask if social distancing cannot be maintained.

Exceptions to wearing a mask include:

  • Social distancing can be maintained; 
  • While actively eating or drinking, provided that the individual remains in place while eating or drinking; 
  • When communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing if:
    • Communication cannot be achieved through other means; and 
    • The speaker wears a face shield or uses alternative protection such as a plexiglass barrier; 
  • While obtaining or providing a service that requires the temporary removal of the face mask, such as speech therapy services; 
  • While actively performing as an athlete at a school organized or school sponsored athletic event; 
  • While exercising or engaging in athletic training while: 
    • Outdoors; or 
    • Indoors and maintaining social distancing; or
  • While rehearsing for or giving an educational, artistic, cultural, musical, or theatrical presentation or performance for an audience at a school; otherwise, students and adults must keep mask on.

Outdoor Gatherings

Q: Will schools be allowed to provide outdoor events for students and families?

 A: Schools will be allowed to provide outdoor events for students and families.  All participants will be required to wear masks and socially distance as much as possible. Food trucks and prepackaged store-purchased food and drinks only. Please, no home-cooked items. There must also be adequate hand sanitizing stations when soap and water are not readily available for handwashing.

Indoor Gatherings

Q: Will schools be allowed to hold assemblies, dances, awards ceremonies, parent nights, etc.?

A: Schools will be allowed to hold assemblies, dances, awards ceremonies, parent nights, etc. All participants will be required to wear masks and socially distance as much as possible.

 Parents Visiting Schools

Q: Will parents be allowed to visit schools?

A: Parents are allowed to visit schools. Parents are required to wear masks and socially distance as much as possible. Parents are strongly encouraged to schedule appointments to meet with teachers, administrators, or counselors.

Visitors and Volunteers

Q: Will visitors and volunteers be allowed to enter schools?

 A: Volunteers are now allowed to visit schools for the purpose of providing tutoring and assisting in school productions (plays, choir, dance, instrumental, etc…). Volunteers are required to wear a mask and socially distance as much as possible. Only adults will be allowed to enter for volunteer activities. Visitors may schedule meetings with an individual teacher, counselor, or administrators as needed. Visitors with appointments are required to wear masks and socially distance as much as possible. We will review this decision every 30 days.

Field Trips

Q: Will schools be allowed to schedule field trips?

A: Currently, schools will be allowed to schedule field trips.  All students and employees are required to wear masks and socially distance as much as possible.

FIELD TRIPS AND CHAPERONES

Q: Will parents be allowed to chaperone on field trips?

A: Parents may accompany their child on a school-sponsored field trip. Nevertheless, they must meet their child’s class at the field trip destination and only interact with their child for the duration of the field trip. Parents may not ride on school buses. Any parent choosing to accompany their child on a field trip must wear a mask and socially distance as much as possible. We will review this decision every 30 days.

FIELD TRIPS AND USE OF PERSONAL VEHICLES

Q: Will parents be allowed to use their personal vehicles to transport students to field trips, school-sponsored events, or athletic events?

A: Currently, the use of personal vehicles to transport students to field trip destinations, school-sponsored events, or athletic events is not allowed. We will review this decision every 30 days.

School Supplies

Q: Will students be allowed to share school materials and supplies?

A: All students are given basic school supplies. When it is necessary to share supplies and other materials, students are encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after use. Shared supplies and materials are sanitized between uses as frequently as possible.

 Lunch

Q: How will meal service be provided in schools?

A: We follow the “Offer” federal meal program. Each participating student selects from multiple menu options daily, including self-serve salad bars in our elementary schools.

COVID-19 Symptoms 

Q: What are COVID-19 Symptoms? 

A: COVID-19 Symptoms are: 

  • Fever (100.4 or above) or chills 
  • Cough unrelated to asthma or different than normal 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • New loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore throat 
  • New congestion or runny nose 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

Students with COVID-19 Symptoms 

Q: What happens if my student has COVID-19 symptoms? 

A: Students are asked to stay home from school until: 

  • At least 10 days have passed since the first symptom appeared, symptoms have improved, and there has been no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication OR 
  • Students have a note from a healthcare professional containing another diagnosis. 

 Q: When should my student be tested for COVID-19? 

 A: Students with no known COVID-19 exposure and exhibiting symptoms should be tested. 

 Students who have been fully vaccinated and are experiencing symptoms should be tested.  

 Students may return if: 

  • They have a negative COVID-19 test, symptoms have improved, 
  • There has been no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication, AND 
  • After symptoms resolve. 

While awaiting test results, students will isolate at home. 

If a student is asymptomatic, and tests positive for COVID-19, the student will stay home until 10 days have passed since the positive test. 

All students required to test for COVID-19 must present a copy of their testing results upon returning to school. 

 Quarantine and Isolation

Q: What happens if a student or staff member is exposed to COVID at school?

A: FROM SALT LAKE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Two options are available:

1.      Quarantine at home for 10 days.
OR
2.      Wear a mask at school for 10 days.

With either choice, you have the option to get tested on day 7. If you test negative on day 7 and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you can return to school. To comply with the mayor's order, students, employees, parents, and visitors to our schools and district buildings are required to wear a mask.

If you are exposed at school, you can continue attending if the school determines ANY of the following apply:

  • You are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (2 weeks after your final dose), OR
  • You and the person exposed were both wearing masks, OR
  • You have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days but no longer have symptoms.

If you are exposed at home and NOT vaccinated, you must quarantine—there is no option to wear a mask and attend school or test on day 7 and leave quarantine early. 

If you are exposed somewhere besides home or school, you must quarantine—there is no option to wear a mask and attend school. You may still test on day 7 and, if negative, leave quarantine early. 

Q: What educational services will be provided to students in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine? 

A: Students in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine will be provided with time to make-up missing work, assignments, tests, and participation points.  

  • Students will be provided at 2 days to make up missing work for every day they are absent due to COVID isolation or quarantine (example: 10 days absent = 20 days to make up assignments). 
  • It is the responsibility of the student and/or parent to obtain make-up work from their teachers. 
  • Teachers will maintain reasonable access and availability for students to obtain their make-up assignments. 

 Athletes and Athletic Coaches

Q: What happens if an athlete or coach is exposed to COVID at school athletic event?

A: Coach--the coach will follow the quarantine and isolation protocol listed above in the Quarantine and Isolation section.

 Athlete--the athlete will quarantine at home for 10 days.

Athletes will have the option to get tested on day 7. If you test negative on day 7 and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you can return to practicing with your athletic team.

If you are exposed during an athletic event, you can continue participating if the school determines ANY of the following apply:

  • You are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (2 weeks after your final dose), OR
  • You have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days but no longer have symptoms.

 If you are exposed at home or somewhere else besides school, you can choose to:

  • Quarantine a full 10-days, OR
  • Elect to test on the 7th day and return to school if COVID test is negative, you have no symptoms, and don’t live with the person who tested positive.

 Test to Stay

Q: What is Test to Stay and what does it mean for my child(ren)?

 A: Test to Stay is the protocol used to track positive COVID-19 cases in schools. Test to Stay allows in-person learning to continue, as safely as possible, while lessening the burden of quarantine and multiple soft closure on students, families, teachers, and school administrators.

The Salt Lake County Health Department tracks positive cases within a moving 14-day period for their public dashboard and the Test to Stay threshold.

Thresholds:

  • Schools with 1,500 or more students have 2% of their students test positive for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.
  • Schools with fewer than 1,500 students have 30 students test positive for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.

Once the threshold is met, Salt Lake City School District will coordinate with the Salt Lake County Health Department to schedule COVID testing. Parents will be provided with a letter explaining Test to Stay. Parental consent for COVID testing of any student is required.

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Clinics

Q: Will Salt Lake City School District be providing COVID –19 testing and vaccination clinics?

A: Salt Lake City School District will continue to collaborate with the Utah Department of Health and the Salt Lake County Health Department to provide COVID-19 testing centers and COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Currently, the Utah Department of Health is providing COVID-19 testing:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. in the Highland High School parking lot.
  • Mondays-Fridays from 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Rose Park Community Learning Center 

For information about our vaccination and testing clinics, click here.

SALT LAKE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT COVID-19 DASHBOARD

Q: Where do I find information about the number of COVID-19 cases in my school?

A: Salt Lake City School District has created a COVID-19 Dashboard to help monitor our COVID-19 cases and keep the public informed. The dashboard is updated every hour. Occasionally, we may experience delays in updating this information due to weekends, holidays, and ongoing confirmation of positive COVID-19 cases. A link to the COVID-19 Dashboard is below.

Salt Lake City School District COVID-19 Dashboard

Salt Lake Virtual Elementary

Q: Will my child(ren) have to commit to an entire school year if we enroll in Salt Lake Virtual Elementary?

A: Families selecting to enroll their child(ren) in Salt Lake Virtual Elementary will only have to commit to attend one quarter at a time and NOT the entire academic year.

Ventilation in Schools

Q: What are schools doing to keep fresh air circulating in classrooms?

A: All HVAC systems are adjusted to ensure that 100% fresh air is cycled through schools each day. The air filters in every school and district building were replaced during the spring and summer months and will be checked weekly and replaced quarterly.

COVID-19 Booster/Third Dose

Q: When will Salt Lake City School District provide vaccination clinics for the COVID-19 Booster/Third Dose?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the use of Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) booster doses for the following individuals:

  • people who are 65 or older, and
  • people who live in a long-term care facility, and
  • people 18 and older with underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and
  • people who live or work in a setting that puts them at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as healthcare workers and teachers.

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recommends vaccine providers throughout the state become familiar with the CDC’s recommendations and begin offering booster doses as soon as they are able.

Booster doses should be administered at least six months after a person receives their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine. Due to a lack of available data at this time, the FDA, CDC, and ACIP have not authorized or approved booster doses for people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.