While the Tooele County Commission struck down the County Health Department’s conditional mask order for the public schools last week, the state Legislature’s “Test to Stay” program remains state law — and it looks like Tooele High School will be the first school in the county to meet the criteria for Test to Stay.
The Tooele County School District reported on their website’s COVID-19 Case Count for Schools report that Tooele High school reached a total of 35 students that have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14-days. That is the threshold number required by 2021 Senate Bill 107, In-person Instruction Prioritization, to trigger COVID-19 testing of students so the school can continue to offer in-person instruction.
Test-to-Stay, as passed by the state Legislature, requires that once a school reaches a predetermined amount of positive COVID-19 cases among students in the previous 14-day period that the school district, in cooperation with the local health department, will test all students at the school for COVID-19.
For schools with a student population under 1,500 students the threshold number of positive student cases is 30. For schools with 1,500 or more students, the threshold is 2% of the students population. Those threshold requirements were set by the state Legislature in SB 107.
Only two schools in Tooele County have a student population of 1,500 or more — Stansbury High School at 2,102 and Tooele High School at 1,777.
With Tooele High School sitting at 35 positive student cases, which is 2% of 1,777, in the last 14-days as of Monday, according to the school districts’ records, the school district is waiting for the County Health Department to issue a Test to Stay for the school.
According to the Test to Stay requirements of SB 107, once a school reaches the threshold number of cases, the school, with the assistance of the health department, must provide COVID-19 testing for all students that have attended in-person classes at the school in the last 14-days.
Students that test negative for COVID-19 may continue to attend in-person instruction at the school, according to SB 107.
Students that test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home as required, generally 10 days from the test, regardless of vaccination status, according to the school district’s Fall 2021 Back-to-School Guidelines for COVID-19.
The school district must get permission from parents before testing students for COVID-19.
As SB 107 requires a negative COVID-19 test to stay in in-person instruction, students that do not participate in the Test to Stay program should quarantine at home for 10-days. They may return to in-person learning after 10-days, according to Test to Stay recommendations published by the state Department of Health.
The Tooele County School District will move forward with implementing the Test to Stay protocol once the County Health Department notifies the school district that a school has reached the SB 107 specified threshold.
UPDATE: Sept. 14, 2021 6:06 p.m.
With 40 students testing positive for COVID-19 at Tooele High School as of 12:40 p.m. today, Tuesday, Sept. 14, the school is over the 35 student trigger — 2% of the student population — for the Legislative “Test to Stay” protocol, pursuant to 2021 Senate Bill 107.
As a result, students will be tested for COVID-19 during a testing event to be conducted at the school on Thursday by trained Utah Department of Health, Tooele County Department of Health, and Tooele County School District employees, according to the Tooele County School District.
For more information about Test-To-Stay, please go to pages 16-17 of the Fall 2021 Back-to-School Guidelines for COVID-19 on the school district’s website here.
Or visit the Utah Test-To-Stay Guidance here.