SALT LAKE CITY — When the bell rings at 2:25 p.m., math teacher Melissa Brown watches from a window as kids file out of Riverton High.
“The first thing they do,” she said, “is rip off their masks. The second thing is they hop in a car with a bunch of their friends like COVID doesn’t exist once class is over.”
Her school is one of the 53 high schools, or roughly a third of those in the state, that have crossed the 15-case coronavirus threshold that state officials say should trigger two weeks of online instruction. That list includes every traditional high school in Salt Lake County in the four districts that reopened in person. And Brown has seen firsthand what’s driving the outbreaks.
“When the public sees that we have a certain number of cases at a high school, I don’t think that demonstrates what is actually going on in the building and just outside of it,” she added. “Our students are getting the virus, and they’re spreading it because they’re so social.”