Canyons schools shut down due to increasing COVID-19 cases

Corner canyon high school

Corner canyon high school

Two weeks of online school? High schools all across Utah have been forced to shut down over the course of the past month. Canyons School District has been no different, as 3 out of the 5 high schools have gone on “soft closures,” shutting down for two weeks as their COVID-19 case totals have spiked.

Katelyn Johnson, a senior at Alta High School, has been forced to do online school since the School Board announced a two-week soft closure for the school on September 22. 

“Online school honestly hasn’t been too bad, but I don’t want to stay online for longer than the two weeks” Johnson shares. 

Corner Canyon and Brighton have also been shut down for two weeks, with Corner Canyon recently announcing they would be closed for another two weeks as cases continued to increase. Brighton however, recently reopened with a normal schedule on October 5.

One positive element of the situation is that the district and state have still allowed high schools with soft closures to participate in high school sports. 

“The decision is out of my hands but I’m glad that we’ve still been able to participate in athletics,” Johnson, who plays lacrosse for Alta, said while discussing the decision to keep sports going.

Alta recently reopened on October 7, with a hybrid schedule for at least 2 weeks. Corner Canyon plans on reopening on a to be determined schedule on October 20.

Cole Carlile, a senior at Hillcrest High School, is very grateful for the opportunity to remain in school. 

“I’m happy Hillcrest has remained open so that I can see my friends and learn in a classroom.” 

Hillcrest and Jordan are the two high schools in Canyons District that have remained open the whole year for in person classes at the time of the writing of this article. 

As a member of varsity basketball, Carlile shares, “It’s important to me that we can stay safe so we can have sports seasons and remain in class.” 

Schools will do everything they can to limit the spread of COVID-19 at schools and the community, but Canyons leaders have shared that responsibility by students is what will keep the schools open. 

“If parents are going to sponsor private dances in which children mingle without social distancing and it impacts the school, then the next level is the school and the school board.” shares Jeff Haney, spokesperson for the district. 

Students are asked to social distance and wear masks outside of school as well, to limit the spread of the virus in communities. Haney wants students to continue to get the education they need but understands that everyone needs to put in the effort to make that a reality. 

“If we don’t have to adhere to the safety protocols at and away from schools, it’s going to be very difficult for us to move forward.”