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Park City School District needs to tell parents and teachers that schools out for summer

It’s been interesting watching the Park City Schools District navigate Sars-Cov-2. My experience at the elementary level, is that it its been very hard for both the teachers and kids. They really miss each other. It’s been tough.

Overall, teachers and Administrators have done a good job given what they have to work with, but it hasn’t been easy.

At Jeremy Ranch Elementary, things will be different after Spring Break. They will be using Google Classroom to electronically teach. Previously to the pandemic, physical packets were prepared that students completed each week. Now, it will be more electronic, which is good. The downside is that most elementary teachers will get about a week to master the software and implement it with their classes. What could possibly go wrong?

Yet, per the Utah Governor, the stated expectation is that in-person school will be back in session on May 1. Given the situation on the ground that is unthinkable. The Governor issued a document last month stating that if on April 30, the total number of cases of Sars-Cov-2 in Utah were less than 1,000 we may get back to normal sometime in May. Yet, we surpassed that number on April 2. As of April 5, we are at 1,605 cases. Things are not going to get back to normal in May.

Then, according to KPCW, “Park City and Summit County’s own economic recovery task force has been working on a plan that mirrors the state’s, which estimates businesses might begin operating normally again come September at the earliest.”

If businesses are not operating normally until September AT THE EARLIEST, then neither are schools. Is even September too optimistic? Maybe.

If you haven’t read the AP column by Tim Dahlberg entitled Virus will make the timeline for sports, too, putting cloud over NFL season, you may want to read it. He highlights what will be needed to get people back into sports stadiums this Fall. “Imagine going to an NFL game in September. Do they scan your forehead when they scan your ticket? Will you have to present evidence of a negative virus test? Do you really want to sit next to a stranger and worry for three hours about what he or she might be carrying?”

He brings up interesting points. What about schools?

Will every school screen each child at the door for fever? Will they require proof of a virus test? If a class has a student that becomes diagnosed with coronavirus, will the school be shuttered? It’s too nuanced to work.

No, they will keep schools closed until it is socially acceptable to open them.

Will that be on August 20, 2020? If you are a parent, you are hating me for even writing that. However, it’s not crazy to think that the first day of in-person school will be sometime later in 2020. The truth is that no one knows. However, it is becoming obvious that the date isn’t in less than a month.

It is important that Park City School Superintendent Gildea let Park City’s parents and teachers know school will be “remote” for the remainder of the school year. As parents, we are being forced to make choices by our employers. Those choices are partially based on what the school district is planning on doing. Am I homeschooling through June 4, or should I pick up a full schedule at work on May 1? Any insight on next Fall? Should I be looking for a different job with more flexibility to support my kids going to school?

I can assume teachers are in a similar boat. There is a difference between saying, “plan on getting students what they need for the next few weeks” and “plan on teaching the next six months from your home.” What would a teacher do differently if they were planning on teaching the next year remotely? I bet a lot.

The sooner that the school district announces that schools will be ONLINE-ONLY for the remainder of the school year, the better decisions we can collectively make.

Right now parents are in limbo and that does no one any good. Teachers are in a tough position, too. I hope our district can see where this is all heading and provide some guidance.

All I see is that school is out for summer. Plan accordingly. PCSD, as soon as you know about the fall, please let us know.


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