SALT LAKE CITY— Utah’s three Catholic high schools responded to Gov. Gary Herbert’s declaration of a State of Emergency due to the rapidly increasing spread of COVID-19 by immediately suspending all extracurricular activities.
Per the governor’s mandate, the high schools’ extracurricular activities, which include sports, field trips and before- and after-school activities, have been suspended for two weeks. The elementary schools had already canceled activities such as the Catholic Youth Organizations’ volleyball and basketball games, said Mark Longe, superintendent of Utah Catholic Schools. However, the emergency order prompted The Madeleine Choir School to cancel all choir activities and postpone the Nov. 15 St. Cecilia concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
On Nov. 8, Gov. Herbert declared a state of emergency effective 1 p.m. Nov. 9; he also issued a health order that instituted a statewide mask mandate. Utah Catholic Schools already have policies that require students and staff to wear masks, as well as follow other safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Although the governor allowed state playoff games to continue, all three Catholic high schools have completed their fall sports season and will not be impacted by this condition.
All schools will continue to follow the protocols enacted at the beginning of the school year. The health order will not impact normal classes, but school officials have been discussing further directives.
In addition to these conditions, Gov. Herbert called for casual social gatherings to be limited to immediate households only until Nov. 23, and for Utah college and university students to be tested weekly for COVID-19.
Religious services are exempt from the emergency order, although Catholic churches in Utah will continue to abide by social distancing requirements as well as require those entering church buildings to wear masks.