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The financial costs of reopening schools

Over the weekend a friend sent me an infographic describing the financial costs of re-opening schools. It shows the estimated additional costs that a school district with 8 schools and 3,700 students will need to account for this year. The additional cost is about $1.8 million. The Park City School District has a similar number of schools but about 900 more kids. So, we’re likely looking at over $2 million in additional costs. It’s mind-blowing.

Perhaps my favorite piece of this infographic is in the fine print. “Model assumes 25% transportation capacity to adhere to social distancing guidelines (Bus fleets would need to quadruple in size to safely transport 100% of students… which is financially unfeasible for districts).” That should make traffic interesting this Fall.

I’m assuming schools will open this Fall. I think it would take a real act of god to get our legislators from Southern Utah Governor to close schools again. That said, I don’t know how a district absorbs these costs. Rainy day funds only go so far.

I’ve assumed school may look different. Perhaps there will be odd-even days. Perhaps days will be split in two (an 8 AM -11 AM group of kids and 1 PM to 4 PM group) with specialists handled remotely. Lunch may be in the classroom. For younger kids, recess may be limited. Yet I’m not sure how much any of that impacts cost.

This is the time that makes you glad you didn’t run for the school board. For the current board members, I say THANKS. This isn’t going to be easy.

Cost of opening schools

Click here to download a larger PDF version of this document.

Note: Thanks to Shannon who asked me to check on activities funds and whether they were typically paid by the district. It appears they are a pass through item and I have updated the story accordingly.




IMO basically none of that is worth doing. Transmission happens from person to person contact mostly, and kids are going to come into contact no matter how much surface cleaning you do.

So on the good side, I doubt we need/want to spend that money. On the negative side, there’s probably basically no way to keep kids from infecting each other.

If I ran the circus (which, obviously, I don’t), I’d try to get as many SAHP into the sub system (and trained somehow) as possible to allow vulnerable adults to work remotely with a low-risk parent/substitute in-person assistant helping. Got a few confirmed cases? Those kids stay home, vulnerable staff members work remote as much as possible, parent/sub pool steps up to keep things going, but school marches on.



I agree with you there. Having seen how kids interact — or better put — just watching how my kids deal with a face mask in Home Depot for 15 minutes (not well), I would agree on the effectiveness.

However, they have to put in rules so it is technically safe. My bet on the Governor, and PC Schools (because they have to) is that they adopt most of these. How can they not?


Sure, it’s the equivalent of the TSA security-theater. If you see someone in a hazmat suit blowing fog around, that’s impressive! We’re taking this seriously! It’s pointless, but it looks cool.

So sure, if they need to do that stuff to convince the public that the school is safe, fine. But stuff that would actually keep people safe (ie, getting a lot of subs/volunteers going NOW so older/immunocompromised teachers can be protected) isn’t happening. Bizarre.


Opening schools is a mistake.


Will parents be given a choice to either send kids to school in a pandemic (without vaccine) or to stay home for online learning? I want my kids to remain home without getting in trouble.


Unfortunately, we (at least the public) don’t know yet. My hope is that those policies will be distributed sometime this month so we can make plans (but you never know). I have heard they are installing cameras in at least some classrooms (don’t know about all). I would guess this is for those parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids to school (or if we can’t). I feel for both the teachers and kids trying to teach and learn that way, though. Having recorded a lot of events, unless someone is manning the camera and/or switching to a tighter view … it makes it hard to see anything.


I’d be shocked if they didn’t offer remote learning as an option.

That said, no way in hell are my kids doing that again. They’re going to school unless it’s actively on fire.


Of all the face covering options, face shields provide the best air quality. Tests have shown CO2 above OSHA standards when measured behind N95, surgicial and cloth masks. Can’t be healthy for anyone to be breathing in their own recycled air. I hope PCSD considers this option.

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