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West Jordan Journal

School officials to check out schools after March 18 earthquake

Mar 18, 2020 11:37AM ● By Julie Slama

A photo circulating on Twitter of Silver Crest Elementary in Herriman shows obvious brick damage after the Magna area suffered a 5.7-magnitude earthquake on March 18.

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Silver Crest Elementary’s façade had bricks missing after a Salt Lake Valley 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook the area shortly after 7 a.m., March 18.

At 10:25 a.m., Jordan School District spokesperson Sandra Riesgraf said, “All of our schools and buildings have been inspected and are structurally sound and safe to occupy. We have some exterior brick damage at Silver Crest, but nothing else really.”

That Jordan School District elementary school in Herriman opened in 2009.

At 10:37 a.m., Canyons School District Superintendent Jim Briscoe issued the district’s third alert, updating two earlier announcements sent earlier on March 18.

The statement said: “To guarantee the safety of employees and members of the public, Canyons District Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe has declared all school campuses and facilities closed until further notice. Public business will not be conducted in our buildings today, Wednesday, March 18. Canyons District custodians and Facilities Management workers will conduct examinations of our facilities to determine whether schools and other CSD buildings sustained damages from the earthquake or aftershocks. As a reminder, Canyons District has temporarily suspended the grab-and-go lunch-service program. We will communicate more information about the meal service for tomorrow when it becomes available.”

All Canyons alerts said patrons can check the website or send an email for updated information.

At 9:45 a.m., Granite School District sent an email to patrons and employees: “Superintendent Martin Bates here, typing from work actually. Lots of messages have gone out this morning, BUT, state emergency management just gave direction we should ALL follow. Under the direction of state emergency management officials, we are to limit travel and stay home. Accordingly, ALL school and district operations will cease for the day. We encourage people to travel home safely and stay tuned to the news for further community updates. School breakfast and lunch should continue tomorrow as should Chromebook distribution.”

Murray School District posted a message on their website to its patrons.

“As such, we will NOT be holding online learning today,” it said. “We will also not be able to offer lunch service today as there are potential aftershocks and we’ll need time to assess damage at our schools and the safety of our employees.”

Salt Lake School District released a statement on its website: “Due to the earthquake this morning, we will not be able to provide meals, food boxes, or laptops/iPads today. We have sent our employees home and are currently working with essential personnel to determine the safety of our buildings and to locate any damage. We hope to be able to resume these programs tomorrow and will send word to families via email, our website, and social media.”

Susan Thomas, communications and development division director with Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind sent an email at 8:03 a.m.: “USDB Facilities Director Adam Michaelson reports all of our campuses are OK! We will continue to scrutinize our locations for any damage.”

At Athlos Academy of Utah in Herriman, early morning online classes have been cancelled, but the school remains open for school breakfast and lunch.

Channing Hall in Draper is set for online school, said charter school director Diane Wirth.

“Our students and staff are working from home due to the pandemic,” she said. “Our facility staff has assessed the building and found no damage.”

Waterford School in Sandy also reports no damage.

“Waterford's students, faculty and campus all appear to be safe, and structures are okay,” said Amanda Apple, Waterford School director of marketing and communications. “Students and faculty were planning to begin remote learning this morning at 8:30 a.m. (all from home), and we decided to postpone and begin tomorrow, Thursday morning.”

Update: Taylorsville High is reportedly being used as a shelter. Medical personnel and Red Cross are there. 


This article was updated to reflect Jordan School District's decision to cancel its Grab and Go lunches today. 

Jet Burnham contributed to the reporting.