August 13, 2020
As schools reopen in Summit County and across the State, there is understandable concern about the safety of that return. Also, there is confusion about authorities related to the plans guiding the return of students, teachers, staff, and faculty.
In Summit County, the Health Department and County officials have been proactive in issuing public health orders to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We were able to take these actions because state law allows us to do so.
With respect to the operation of schools in the state of Utah, Local Health Departments do not hold authority to develop or approve school operational plans. This holds true with re-opening plans during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The re-opening plans for the three school districts in Summit County were all developed by the Districts. Approval authority for these plans is held by the Local School Governing Boards. The Summit County Health Department has provided input and recommendations to these plans, but it has not approved, endorsed, or formally supported any of the plans, as it does not have statutory authority to do so.
The plans have all been guided by, and meet, the requirements established by the Utah State Board of Education, and they all include the mandatory face covering requirements established by the Utah Department of Health and Summit County. They were developed, and will be adjusted, to comply with Utah and Summit County Health Orders.
The Summit County Health Department will work closely with the schools to lead disease investigation efforts, and will establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine related to these cases, if outbreaks of COVID-19 do occur. The School Districts and Summit County Health Department will continue to work closely together to make data-informed decisions. While the entities have different authorities, our focus is united in trying to help provide a safe learning environment for students and a safe workplace for teachers and employees.
Doug Clyde, Summit County Council Chair
Dr. Ilyssa Golding, Summit County Board of Health Chair
Dr. Rich Bullough, Summit County Health Director
Jerre Holmes, North Summit School District Superintendent
Dr. Shad Sorenson, South Summit School District Superintendent
Dr. Jill Gildea, Park City School District Superintendent