As the Cache County School District gears up for reopening, Nibley Elementary’s principal is recovering after being hospitalized with COVID-19.
According to CCSD spokesperson Tim Smith, Principal Kelly Rindlisbacher is doing well, considering, and as far as the district knows, he wasn’t exposed at the school. Smith said the district would not release more information than that. Calls to a home phone number listed for Rindlisbacher requesting comment were not immediately returned Monday.
According to a post from a friend of Rindlisbacher’s circulating on Facebook, the principal had been taken to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden with complications to COVID-19, but was slowly improving as of Saturday. Many commenters stated they would pray for Rindlisbacher and shared their sympathies.
CCSD is gearing up to reopen classrooms in the fall, when Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered all students and teachers to wear face masks.
According to a survey the district conducted about a week before Herbert’s order, about 54% of patrons support masks, while about 20 are unsure and the rest said they would prefer not to wear masks, according to Smith. Days later, Utah Area Presidency The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the state’s predominant religion, asked all Utah members to wear masks in public.
At the time of the governor’s announcement, Herbert challenged Utahns to reduce the rolling seven-day average of new lab-confirmed cases to below 500 by the beginning of August. When Herbert announced the goal last Thursday, that figure was more than 580; by Monday, it had risen to nearly 660.
Smith said the district has fielded several calls from concerned parents and is taking COVID-19 precautions seriously.
“We are hopeful, as the governor is, that as a state that we can get those numbers to go the other direction into a more manageable realm,” Smith said.
The district has prepared a plan for reopening that Smith expected to present to the school board on Monday in preparation for a vote on July 21.
“The plan is somewhat general,” Smith said. “These are our big stakes of how we’re going to pull off school in the fall, and then our protocols in kind of each individual circumstance we find ourselves in, whether it be in classrooms or gyms or on our school buses are all protocols we’re developing outside of the plan just because we need to be a little nimble with those so that they can change as needed.”
The Bear River Health District is still reporting dozens of new infections a day, most of them in Cache County. Since the beginning of the outbreak at the end of May, the district’s 7-day rolling average of new lab-confirmed cases bottomed out at just below 19 on July 6 and the six days prior, and it appears to be climbing slightly, to an average of 24 new cases a day from July 7-13.
A cumulative total of 1,891 cases have been reported in the three-county district as of Monday, and 87% of those are in Cache County. All of the rest are in Box Elder except for four Rich County cases. Six health district residents are currently hospitalized with the disease.