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Despite UEA call to delay in-school learning, Alpine School District plans to keep that option

Posted at 12:49 PM, Jul 29, 2020

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — Despite calls from the state's largest teachers union to push back the start of in-person learning, Alpine School District says at this point, it's not making any changes to its proposed fall plan.

That has some teachers in the district anxious and unsure of how to navigate the new normal.

“It’s going to be so different and I think a lot of us don’t even know what to expect,” said Natalie Thomson, a ninth grade teacher in the Alpine School District. “Just the unknown of everything is concerning.”

Thomson said making plans for the upcoming year is difficult, as so many guidelines are changing for the way teachers are allowed to teach students.

“It’s going to feel so different and how I’m going to have to kind of teach completely differently and I don’t really know how it’s going to work yet,” she said. “So I’m feeling everything right now.”

The Alpine School District finalized its plan several weeks ago.

Students will attend school on a modified Monday through Friday schedule that takes away an hour at the end of school each day.

Students will be required to wear masks in class and on buses and parents will have the option to keep their kids at home and do distance learning.

“We’re going to try something and see how it goes,” Thomson said. “Hopefully we’ll reevaluate if things aren’t working right or if too many people are getting sick or something.”

While Thomson feels safe, and thinks the district leaders are doing everything they can to make the best decisions for everyone, she said they’ll have to be open to making changes once school starts.

“As far as what’s working and not working I think they’re going to have to be flexible,” Thomson said. “I mean teachers and educators are naturally anyway.”

Still, many parents and teachers are upset -- not just with Alpine’s plan -- but with districts all over the state. Because of that, the Utah Legislature plans to meet next month to discuss school safety.