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Utah State Board of Ed. votes to move forward with fall re-opening document; heads to the Governor’s desk

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 00:24:56-04

The Utah State Board of Education voted to forward a document that will help guide all Utah public schools in creating a re-opening plan for Fall 2020, Thursday. The document provides a set of minimum requirements that each Utah public and charter school must meet. The requirements are based on student and staff health and safety, according to discussions at Thursday’s public school board meeting.

The point of the document is to provide local flexibility, as each district and charter school will be required to create their own plans by Aug. 1, a spokesperson for the state board said.

The document will be presented to Gov. Gary Herbert for final approval and authorization. Some of the requirements outlined in the document include increasing daily cleaning and hygiene standards, applying floor marking or signage to minimize congestion, and limiting non- essential visitors and volunteers. The preliminary document should be available online in the next week, a spokesperson for the state board said.

Some school districts, like the Canyons School District, have already begun drafting re-opening plans for the upcoming school year. To view the drafted plan, click here. The plans are based on which color-coded risk phase the school’s city is in.

Everything is on the table, Canyons School District spokesperson Jeff Haney, said.

“Schools are put in this position of asking themselves, ‘okay, what can we possibly do to deliver high-quality instruction to kids in various formats’,” he said.

All Canyons School District parents received a survey Thursday, asking questions about the upcoming school year.

“We are returning to school in the middle of a global pandemic, so we want to hear from parents,” Haney said.

District and school leaders are working to ensure they provide a safe and efficient learning environment for students. This includes looking at innovative ways to meet the needs of all students during the pandemic, Haney said.

“We are gauging the sentiment of parents in our community about if they would like to have the option of having their kids in an online class led by a teacher who, for a set period of time, leads that class,” he said.

While preliminary plans are being put in place, things could change depending on what happens with the virus.

Parents are also faced with the decision of what they plan to do with their children in the fall.

Many parents told FOX13 News, they still haven’t decided and likely won’t until it is closer, and a clear plan has been released for their child’s school. Others said they do plan to send their children back in the ball/

“I don’t want to ruin school for them,” Samea Neilson said. She has two school aged children and wants to make sure the plan released allows learning to still be fun and that the schools won’t require masks. Making sure it is also safe for her kids to return is also extremely important, she said.

“I am just kind of undecided right now,” Neilson said.

There is just too much unknown, Tiffany Sydenham, who has three school aged children said.

“My thoughts as of now, which could also be like the CDC and change its mind next week, is at this point I think it’s better for me to go forward with homeschooling just in case we were to have a big change again,” she said.

Both Sydenham and Neilson agreed homeschooling was tough at first but then got easier.

For the latest information on Covid-19 response in Utah schools, click here.