Gov. Cox signs bill requiring legislative sign off for schools to go remote

SALT LAKE CITY — On Wednesday Gov. Spencer Cox signed Utah House Bill 183 into law, which ends Test to Stay protocols in schools and sets up a new system to approve remote learning.

The new law, which goes into effect immediately, has some local attorneys questioning if it violates the Utah Constitution.

Under the new rules, if a school wants to pivot to remote learning, it must appeal to the district’s school board. The school board then must hold a public meeting and vote on the matter.

If approved, the request then goes to Salt Lake City, where schools need the signatures of Gov. Cox, Speaker of the House Brad Wilson, President of the Senate Stuart Adams, and State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson to officially move to remote learning.

Schools cannot ask to switch to online learning indefinitely, as a “specific and temporary period of time” must be listed.

“In-person learning is critical to the development of children and youth,” Gov. Cox said in a statement. “With this bill, we have clarified how schools transition to remote learning when significant illness threatens a school’s ability to safely continue in person learning.

“Test to Stay is one element of a layered approach to offer in-person learning in a safe manner.  This law clarifies that the state will implement Test to Stay when it is determined that it will be helpful in controlling the spread of COVID-19. The virus has been evolving and our response needs to too.”

Cox also signed eight other bills related to the budget on Wednesday.

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