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AM News Brief: Salt Lake School District Plans, COVID-10 Testing & Paintball Bears

Photo of signs that read "No classes until further notice" and "No hay clases hasta nuevo aviso."
Elaine Clark / KUER
The Salt Lake City School District released its plan Sunday for remote teaching and learning that will start Wednesday. This story and more on the Monday

Monday morning, March 16, 2020

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.


School Closings

All Utah public schools are dismissed Monday for two weeks. Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement late last week. The state clarified over the weekend that teachers will remain at schools and starting Monday will have up to two days to work out how they want to distribute lessons and schoolwork. Saturday, officials clarified that schools will not be able to provide childcare of any kind. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Cox On Testing

Coronavirus testing is ramping up in Utah, but it’s still not enough, according to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. In a video Saturday night he said part of the problem is a nationwide shortage of a needed chemical, likening the problem to having a printer with no ink cartridges. The state’s Department of Health ran roughly 80 tests Saturday and only around 50 on Friday. Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah are running them too. More than 500 people in Utah had been screened by Saturday, according to Cox. — Sonja Hutson

Asymptomatic Utahns Return From The Grand Princess

About two dozen Utahns returned home last night, after being quarantined following a cruise. The state Department of Health said they arrived at the Utah Air National Guard base on a special charter from Dobbins Air Force Base. The 23 were asymptomatic after debarking from the Grand Princess cruise ship a week ago. Sunday night, none showed signs of COVID-19 and either tested negative or are awaiting results. They'll be monitored by state or local public health departments and will quarantine for two weeks. Officials say they pose no risk to the community. — Diane Maggipinto

Bookmobile Suspended

Utah’s Bookmobile service will be curbed for two weeks to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to protect mobile library staff. Communities in 10 rural counties and the small town of Vernon will go without materials, internet access and other services provided by the Bookmobile, which serves areas that don't have easy access to public libraries. Officials there say they'll follow the guidance of local and state health officials to determine when service can resume. Anyone can access Utah’s Online Library for ebooks and audiobooks, movies, music and more. — Diane Maggipinto

Northern Utah

Park City Shutdown

Restaurants, bars, churches and gyms in Park City closed for a month beginning Sunday evening in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The order comes from Summit County officials and is county-wide. The area was the site of Utah’s first documented case of community spread, which is when someone tests positive without having any contact with another known case. Park City’s major ski resorts also shut down on Sunday. Officials are allowing restaurants to continue offering drive-through or takeout services. Grocery stores will also remain open. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Salt Lake City Schools Announce Remote Plans

The Salt Lake City School District released its plan Sunday for remote teaching and learning that will start Wednesday. Superintendent Lexi Cunningham says the work is intended to keep student skills sharp through review of material already taught in the classroom. Laptops will be available for checkout, and internet access will be free for two months through Comcast's Internet Essentials partnership with the district. But the lessons won't be exclusively online. Officials say teachers may prepare packets and other materials for students to complete. Plus, food and hygiene kits will be ready for pickup at Community Learning Centers beginning Wednesday. — Diane Maggipinto

Eagle Mountain City Closed

Eagle Mountain City offices are closed Monday and will remain shuttered for two weeks. City services will continue, though, with department personnel working remotely. City employees who work in the field outside administrative offices will continue to do so. Customer service will be conducted online via email or by phone. The city will also suspend late fees and water shut-off. — Diane Maggipinto

Utah Company Sues The Killers’ Agency

The Utah tech company Qualtrics is suing the booking agency for the band The Killers. The company says the rock band wants to be paid for a show it was supposed to play during Qualtrics' annual conference. That was canceled last week because of the coronavirus outbreak. The company plans to reschedule its user summit at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, which has closed because of the contagion. Qualtrics says Los Angeles-based SME Entertainment Group refused to support its decision to cancel. SME has not commented on the suit. — Associated Press


Paintball Bears

It’s official. New federal guidelines say it’s OK to haze a grizzly bear with a paint gun. That directive from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the technique to the other ways you can discourage bears like banging pots and pans. Hazing is used to keep the animal away from homes, barns, and livestock. Ranchers, wildlife agencies, and advocates alike support it. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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