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PM News Brief: School Quarantine Concerns, Trump Signs Outdoors Act & 4th District Race

Shuttles at Zion National Park
David Fuchs
/
KUER
President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act on Tuesday, which allocates significant funds for national parks and land conservation efforts.

Tuesday evening, August 4, 2020

STATE

Covid And Culture Collide In Rural Utah School Districts

Utah has long struggled with large class sizes, which can make it difficult to keep people apart during the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s a problem more easily addressed by those in the state’s smaller, rural districts — six of which have fewer than 1,000 students total. But having fewer students doesn’t help them tackle a less visible obstacle: long-held cultural values that run counter to health and safety guidelines experts say are needed to fight the virus. Two superintendents in rural districts said they are struggling to get parents and students to cooperate with state guidelines, like wearing a mask and not coming to school if they’re sick. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Utah Doctors Lay Out Concerns About Modified Quarantine For Students

Utah doctors said they have some concerns about the state’s modified quarantine policy as kids get ready to return to school. Speaking during a Q&A session Tuesday, doctors from University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare addressed some top issues. Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, with the University, said the state’s modified quarantine policy for students worries him. It allows kids to go to class if they have contact with a Covid case but have no symptoms and are checked daily. Swaminathan said an outbreak could happen very quickly under those circumstances. — Ross Terrell

378 New Covid Cases, Seven More Deaths

The Utah Department of Health reported 378 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Health officials also reported seven more people died due to the disease. All of them were older than 65 and six of them were from Salt Lake County. Since the start of the pandemic, 321 Utahns have died due to the disease. The average of new daily cases for the past week is now 428 per day. The positivity rate over the last week is still hovering around 10%. That means fewer people are being tested. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

New Study Looks At Women In Leadership Roles In Utah Government

A new study shows about 39% of leadership roles in Utah’s state government are held by women. The Utah Women and Leadership Project at Utah State University released the findings Tuesday. The percentage of female leaders varied widely depending on the sector of government, with 67% of leadership roles in courts filled by women, but in transportation, just 14% are held by women. The group said the study gives a better picture of where the state is doing well and where it needs improvement when it comes to gender parity. Some of its recommendations include placing greater importance on recruiting a diverse range of leaders and evaluating hiring practices. — Caroline Ballard

Healthcare Ranked As Top Issue For Utah Voters

Healthcare is the top issue for Utah voters according to a new report from the Utah Foundation, a nonprofit research organization. State taxes and government spending comes in second. Information in the report came from surveys sent to people in February and early March, before the coronavirus pandemic, and then questionnaires sent in June and early July. Other important issues include housing costs and politicians listening to voters. The survey from the Foundation also found that since 2004, an increasing number of Utahns believe the state is on the wrong track. In 2004, 23% of voters felt that way, now that’s up to 48%. — Ross Terrell

NORTHERN UTAH

Ben McAdams And Burgess Owens Tied In 4th Congressional District

When it comes to Utah’s 4th Congressional District Race, Democratic Incumbent Ben McAdams and Republican challenger Burgess Owens are essentially tied. A recent poll from the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute of Politics shows 35% of likely voters in the district said they would vote for McAdams. And 35% said they would vote for Owens. Right now, the 4th district is the only one in Utah to be represented by a Democrat. McAdams narrowly won the seat in 2018 by fewer than 700 votes. — Ross Terrell

REGION/NATION

President Trump Pens Great American Outdoors Act

President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act Tuesday. The legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support from Congress. It’s been hailed as the biggest investment in land and conservation funding for over half a century. Congress will now spend about $3 billion a year on a variety of public land and conservation projects. And the Act is expected to create some 100,000 park related jobs. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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