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Granite School District prepares for move to distance learning

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 23:45:34-05

SALT LAKE COUNTY — School districts across the state are preparing to move to virtual learning next week.

The Granite School District decided to make the move during a late-night emergency meeting on Thursday.

Friday afternoon, parents and students filed into Fox Hill Elementary School to pick up the necessary resources for next week.

"A Chromebook and then any packets of work your child might need for next week, and then we just have additional instructions about how we can get online to meet with the teacher," said Janae Dean, a parent of two Fox Hill Elementary students. "We are trying so hard to keep our kids in school because we know the benefits of that. I just look at it as: It is going to be temporary."

District spokesman Ben Horsley says this isn't an ideal situation, but a necessary one.

"We are at a critical mass of cases within the school district. The three 'test-to-stays' initiated these last few days produced one in five kids testing positive," said Horsley. "We have some of our high schools where only half the kids are in attendance, because the other half has either tested positive or in quarantine."

READ: Utah suspends school COVID-19 'test-to-stay' protocols

Horsley says the district has had more than 2,000 requests for substitute teachers over the last nine days for teachers in isolation and quarantine. He says more than 40 percent of those on any basis were not filled.

With the switch to distance learning, Horsley says parents, students and teachers will have options.

"We are providing an online, live, sync type of experience in some of our classes, and some of our teachers it will be more of a self-paced: 'Here’s some learning resources, here is a video lesson,'" he said.

Parents, like Dean, say they are more ready this time around to make the move to remote learning.

"We did it over a year and a half ago. I feel like I am better prepared," said Dean.

The Granite School District will be remote beginning on Tuesday through Friday. Horsley says the plan is to resume in-person classes on Monday, Jan. 24.

The Jordan School District is also going remote next week, as is the Salt Lake City School District.