It lasted just days, now the state has scrapped its own recommendation that would have allowed some students, teachers and employees in schools — even after being exposed to coronavirus.
“Modified quarantine” has now been replaced with two-week quarantine.
“This means that any time someone has close contact with a person with COVID-19 — that means they’ve been within six feet for 15 minutes of a confirmed case — that person should spend their entire 14-day quarantine period at home,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist.
The change comes amid back-to-school tension, not for the normal reasons, but over vexing questions over in-person vs. online vs. hybrid instruction.
“There’s not oversight for the plans,” said Heidi Matthews, a teacher and president of the 18,000-member Utah Education Association, adding among teachers, “there is so much unease and uncertainty.”
Parents have been uneasy, too, as evident by protests over back-to-school plans in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis Counties. In Orem, parents demonstrated against requiring students to wear masks in schools. In Farmington, parents called for more in-person instruction in the Davis School District.
Gov. Gary Herbert, who expressed a need to reopen schools, was reportedly frustrated at push-back to the idea.
“It’s not true,” the governor said on Thursday. “I’ve heard it’s been reported that (way) by a person who was in a meeting that evidently I was not in.” He added “we appreciate the teachers and what they’re doing.”
Matthews said tossing modified quarantine is a safety step in the right direction.
“It was UEA’s recommendation,” she said, “and it was the recommendation of about everyone involved in public education in Utah.”