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School Districts' Re-opening Plans For Children of Salt Lake County's Workforce

Posted By Regional Development
July 16, 2020

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School districts across Utah are required to let the state know their plans for re-opening by Aug. 1, based on planning requirements outlined by the Utah State Board of Education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many districts are in the process of proposing plans and adopting changes, based on parent and teacher feedback. 

As key stakeholders in Utah education debate best courses of action, top concerns for 2020-21 school year emphasize equity (or lack of), access to affordable, high-quality childcare, the unforeseen expenses of childcare and that potential impact on families making ends meet.

Among questions that still need solutions are how does Utah, and Salt Lake County, leverage existing programs? Where are childcare deserts? Will Congress' discussion of additional funding include childcare?

The following summarizes plans currently proposed and under finalization for seven school districts, including  Canyons, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Salt Lake, as well as Alpine and Davis.

Canyons School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 17
An update to the proposed plan was presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Option 1: Return to Classes
  • Monday-Friday
Option 2: Offering an online-only option for those who cannot or do not want to return physically
  • Would be issued a device and arrange for connectivity
  • Not real-time classes
  • Not directly connected to their neighborhood or teacher
Option 3: Homeschool
  • In case of temporary re-closure: Spring soft closure plans updated for later use

Granite School District

The School Board approved a re-opening plan on July 14. Individual school plans will be posted on websites Aug. 5.

First Day of Classes: Aug. 24

Option 1 Attendance Plan: In-Person Instruction
  • Traditional calendar
Option 2: Teacher-Delivered Distance Learning
  • Based off the Spring model, with modifications and enhancements
Other options that are being prepared include a Dismissal Schedule and a Modified Schedule. Distance learning will take place if recommended by SLCoHD or Governor’s Office. A Modified Schedule is comprised of:
  • Monday-Thursday, with students divided in half alphabetically for scheduling
    • Half attend Monday and Wednesday
    • Half attend Tuesday and Thursday
    • All Fridays are remote
Granite School District's Survey Results of Parents on Comfort Levels

Jordan School District

The final re-opening plan will be released by July 24; parts were approved on July 6.

First Day of Classes: Aug. 18

Option 1: At-school learning
  • Monday-Thursday
  • Students will not attend on Fridays, will conduct learning at home
Option 2: Virtual Learning
  • Courses created by teachers during the summer
  • Will include teacher interaction

Murray School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 17
  • First 2 weeks of school will be early dismissal
  • Kindergarten begins Sept. 8
Option 1: In-Person Classroom Instruction
Option 2: Blended Learning Resource
  • Allows students to jump between in-person and through technology should a student be absent or become ill
  • Student will attend in-person except when absent
Option 3: Murray Online Resource – Directed
  • Families that do not want to send their students back will have these options.
  • Available for all Grades K-12
  • Canvas will be used by secondary schools and Google Classroom for elementary schools
  • Meal service will be developed for students learning at home
Option 4: Murray Online Resource –Independent
  • The Online Learning-Independent option is self-directed and overseen by a teacher with all learning strictly online
  • Only available for Grades 7-12

Salt Lake City School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 25

Scenario 1: If in Red or Orange Phase, SLCSD instruction will be online only

Scenario 2: If in Yellow, schools will begin on “Modified Schedule,” which includes learning in class and remote learning
  • Student schedules will vary by day and will be communicated by principals
    • Mondays/Thursdays and Tuesdays/Fridays
    • Wednesdays will be digital learning
  • Class sizes will be smaller to facilitate social distancing
  • Canvas will be used as a consistent learning platform for all classes
  • Lunch in classrooms
Other option: Homeschooling/Online
  • Path for parents who don’t want their kids to go to school in person

Surrounding Districts that can Impact SLCo Commuting Workforce

Alpine School District

First Day of Classes: Aug. 18

Option 1: Face-to-Face Instruction

  • Modified schedule: Elementary students released 1 hour early
  • Exact schedule will be released after July 27 once the District receives parent declarations
Option 2: Blended - Online Learning with classroom support
  • Face-to-face interaction with teachers at least 2x per week
  • All will have an assigned class schedule with ASD teachers
  • Google Classroom is the learning platform for elementary, Canvas for secondary educators and students
Option 3: ASD Online Services – East Shore Online/Alpine Online
  • For students and parents intending to provide homeschooling with support
  • Online full time

Davis School District

First Day of Class: Aug. 25

Option 1: In-Person

  • 5 days a week
  • Traditional early-out/late-start: Friday elementary dismissal: 1:25 p.m., Friday junior high dismissal: 2 p.m., Tuesday high school late start: 1 hour.
Option 2: Davis Connect K-12 Online School
  • Work online with a teacher during school hours
  • Not enrolled in original school
Option 3: Davis Connect K-12 Independent Study
  • Work online independently at own pace with active parent support
  • Not enrolled in original school

Priority enrollment requests processed through Aug. 1, after which requests will be determined by availability.

Education Changes’ Impact on the Health of the Workforce and Economy

Experts in education and children's needs are convening to identify solutions for problems exacerbated by COVID-19.
  1. Childcare & Schedules
    • Can the Childcare Industry infrastructure support families from school districts who are out additional school days, and whose parents cannot stay home from work?
    • What resources are available to students who must continue learning at home but have working parents?
    • What percentage of the workforce can work from home? What percentage of the workforce cannot work from home?
    • What problems will arise and need solutions from irregular schedules in elementary and secondary schools? How will these irregularities impact the workforce?
  2. Cost of additional childcare
    Can families support the burden of unplanned costs for increased childcare due to COVID-19? How might that impact their ability to make ends meet -- food security, housing stability
  3. Food Security
    According to GSD, those surveyed that qualify for free meals were also more likely to prefer distanced learning. How are students (and their families) going to be fed if learning remotely or only in school 2-3 days a week?
  4. Labor
    Do the school districts feel there are sufficient teachers or substitutes available should others become ill? Can the workforce meet this need?
  5. Education Funding
    In reverse, do leaders anticipate the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 could result in a Recession-like repeat of teacher cuts following in 2021-22 or subsequent school years? What solutions can be put in place if education revenue drops 10%
  6. School Supplies
    Do schools in Salt Lake County have enough PPE or money to source PPE? 
  7. Resources at Charter Schools and Private Schools
    Do COVID-19 changes put charter schools at heightened economic risk?

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