Silent schools

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Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson announced the continuing of soft closure for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. On Tuesday April 15, 2020 Gov. Herbert held a press conference for the public to share his decision following the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 13, Gov. Herbert first announced the “soft closure” of all public and charter schools in Utah, in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Ten days later, March 23, he announced that all schools would be closed until May 1, 2020. 

“Soft closure” is the option that departments have to close their offices and/or buildings. For schools, this means that the school buildings will no longer be in operation, but students will continue to learn through other means like online schooling.

“In order to continue the slow of the spread of COVID-19, I believe — and we believe — that based on our view of the data we have today, and our best practices that we have in place, that we need to extend the soft closure of our public schools through the remainder of the school year. This is not an easy decision to make, we know it’s hard, it’s disruptive,” said Gov. Herbert.

Teachers will continue to work with students via online learning for the rest of the school year. While classrooms are closed, many schools are still open for those who are in need of take-home meals.

Maureen Howe, math teacher at Hillcrest, says, “I miss my kids a whole bunch. I hate only seeing you guys through a screen. I wish the year didn’t have to end like this, but if it means this will hopefully keep us all safe from the Coronavirus, I’ll take it.”

“I’m not going to lie, senior year kinda sucks right now. The last thing anyone expected was for school to shut down. I miss my friends, my teachers, and I just want everything to go back to normal,” says Ricky Aguilar, a senior at Hillcrest.

Gov. Herbert and Superintendent Dickinson did not discuss how end of year graduation ceremonies will be handled. They did, however, tell ABC News, “schools and even students will undoubtedly get creative in how they approach these end-of-the year events.”