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MORGAN — Morgan High School will move to online learning for nearly three weeks in response to a COVID-19 outbreak at the school. It is the first in the Morgan School District, which is made up of five schools and one high school, to temporarily close.

According to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, there were 23 cases at the school on Tuesday — 21 students and two staff members. It also indicated there were a total of 29 cases in throughout the district.

“As always, the Morgan County School Board evaluates health and safety risks on a case-by-case basis,” said Superintendent Doug Jacobs in an email to parents. “And, while most of the current cases have been traced to contact outside school, the Board is persuaded by the total number of cases and rate of increase in cases that the best course of action is a temporary transition to mitigate the escalation in cases we are seeing at our and other area schools.”

With one preparation day for teachers, all classes at Morgan High will be online beginning Thursday until the school resumes in-person classes Dec. 7. Teachers will work from their classrooms while students view tele-instruction and complete assignments at home, Jacobs’ email said.

During the closure, the district has canceled all after-school programs, including athletics. In his email, Jacobs asked parents to encourage their students to avoid social gatherings and wear a mask whenever they are around someone who is not in their immediate family.

“Our data shows that individuals aged 15-24 have not been careful in their casual social gatherings and that the highest rates of spread are now occurring among this age group,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in announcing a state of emergency declaration Nov. 8.

In the declaration, Herbert enacted a mask mandate and prohibited individuals from gathering in groups with people outside of their household.

“Let us use this time to reset and allow us to resume in-person instruction on Dec. 7 with a clean slate,” Jacobs wrote.

Contact reporter Emily Anderson at Follow her on Twitter at @emilyreanderson.

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