Since school started five weeks ago, the Park City School district has confirmed three positive cases of COVID-19. The school board meeting on Tuesday covered a variety of coronavirus related topics including a teacher’s request for clearer district communication.
Superintendent Jill Gildea says the quarantine protocols they use when positive COVID-19 cases are detected, are from state and county health directives. Of the three cases detected so far this school year, she says anywhere from five to 20 people per site would be quarantined and that it depends on what is discovered with the contact tracing.
“We have worked with three families and three children since this started and have gone through the process of contact tracing and pre-quarantine and all of those steps that we need to take to keep everybody safe. We've done that now three times at three different schools.”
Gildea says anyone can access information about COVID protocols on the pcschools.us website.
Park City Teacher Paula McKay asked the board and administration to consider creating a more specific resource manual for teachers, so they better understand what happens when a case is detected at school.
“I would like the district to create a manual that clearly outlines all step-by-step COVID-19 protocols specific to our building, similar to the safety manuals we have already been given for other protocols or a video similar to the one we received yesterday on safety drills. I would like to add that I am aware the district has a plethora of COVID-19 information on its website but much of it links to external websites and again nothing specific to Park City schools.”
McKay says state guidelines aren’t adequate and they don’t provide enough information to teachers in a timely way.
The state does not specify when teachers should be given this information. However common sense dictates it should be given before the students are removed from the classroom. On Friday, the information was given after the fact. In addition, I, and other teachers, was not made aware of the protocol in advance. It is true that the protocol implemented on Friday was successful in removing 22 students from the building in 90 minutes. But it was not without emotional distress for some of my students. This is not a recrimination of our administration. I know they are doing their very best under impossible circumstances. This is an illustration of the need for clarity and consistency.”
Gildea says each case is different but she is confident that the nurses have the logistical protocols at each school site.
“But certainly, our principals and school leaders are communicating with their staff. If they do have a case, they walk through at the end of the day what protocol was followed, so that people are getting a handle on isolation, mitigation and the strategies that are working very well.”
IHC Medical Director Wing Province has five students in the district. He will address staff at the Eccles Center on September 21. He’ll talk about layered mitigation and a face mask study done at the University of Utah medical Center. The presentation will be recorded.
District Chief Academic Officer Amy Hunt presented options to change the bell schedule for the secondary schools to give teachers additional prep time to prepare online lessons. The board will seek input from parents and teachers before making a change. A decision will be made in an October 6 special session board meeting so the changes can be made before the second marking period begins later in the month.