Sending students back to school this fall while COVID-19 numbers continue to grow in some areas of the country is arguably one of the most contested topics across the U.S. right now. Though there is still concern from some parents and teachers about how schools can safely return, local school districts in Summit and Wasatch counties have solid plans in place to ensure kids who want to go back to school in-person are able to do so, and those for whom the prospect is not preferable can continue their instruction online.
With support from the state’s public health order mandating all K-12 students wear masks (with a provision for reasonable exceptions), along with the recently-published statewide COVID-19 School Manual, schools have been able to focus on structuring how their schedules will look without having to worry about entering the politics of the face covering debate. In Summit County, the health department recently reported a significant reduction in new COVID-19 cases, which they attribute to the county’s public face covering order that went into effect on June 26. Wasatch County has also seen a steady decline in cases over the past week, and their school district will be the first to return to school buildings, starting on Monday, August 17.
Wasatch County School District (WCSD) is offering three options for their 7,500 students – in-person full-day instruction, hybrid half-day instruction and online learning through a district-sponsored platform. After surveying parents, WCSD discovered nearly one-third would prefer to have their student attend school half days on-campus with social distancing (15 or fewer students in a class), and then the other half of the day would be at-home instruction. A smaller percentage of parents opted for at-home instruction, so the District contracted with Harmony Educational Services to keep students enrolled as Wasatch students, but also able to complete their studies entirely online. The three WCSD options and their school reopening plan can be viewed here: Wasatch.edu/COVID.
Park City School District (PCSD) will reopen schools and welcome students for in-person instruction on August 20, but they are also offering a remote learning option for all families. Their “Ready to Return Learning Options” also include online hybrid learning resources for illness or absence, which utilize technology as an extension of in-person classroom learning. PCSD’s remote learning option allows student to learn from home using a District-provided device with instruction facilitated by a certified, grade-level teacher following a daily learning schedule. The District is assuring Dual Language Immersion students that, if they select remote learning, they will be allowed to return to their regular DLI classroom once they are again learning in-person. PCSD’s school reopening plan can be found by clicking here.
South Summit School District (SSSD) will reopen their Silver Summit Academy on Tuesday, August 18, with South Summit Elementary, Middle and High School opening on Wednesday, August 19. Their return to school plan includes two schedules – five-day blended learning or online learning. Both options include remote learning, as the five-day blended model features in-person learning for four days, with the fifth day online. The District assures parents that the remote learning option is improved from online learning at the end of the last school year, and that students can change their choice at the end of the first quarter. In addition to these two options, Silver Summit Academy will pilot a hybrid option that features two days in-person, two days remote and one day for personalized intervention. SSSD’s school reopening plan can be found by clicking here.
North Summit School District (NSSD) is planning to open with a typical school day on Wednesday, August 19, but with increased hygiene protocols in place. For students who wish to engage in remote learning, all classrooms will be equipped with cameras for students to watch instruction live at home. More information on the District’s reopening plan can be found here: https://www.nsummit.org/
With so many milestones missed over the past five months, getting students back to school in some fashion remains a priority for many parents in our local communities. The “how” of school might look different from student to student, but the understanding and support our local families will receive from the area school districts is just one more reason so many people Choose Park City for their new home or vacation property. To learn more about the many ways to enjoy all Park City and the surrounding communities have to offer, connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here.