SANDY, Utah — With less than one week before schools reopen within the Canyons School District, many students still haven’t decided if they’ll be going to class or learning online.
As of Monday, more than 2,000 students haven’t told the district how they prefer to learn: at home or at school. With fewer than seven days left, the district is scrambling and other parents are frustrated.
Back in July, Jennifer Bowen thought in-person learning at Altara Elementary was the best option for her two young children.
Now, she has second thoughts.
“Both sets of grandparents are high risk and so we wanted to switch over to online learning instead of in person,” Bowen said.
When she tried to switch, Altara administration argued online classes were full.
Instead, her children could be put on a waiting list while attending class or she could always homeschool under the direction of Canyons School District.
“I am not qualified to be a home school teacher. I really felt like I was put in an impossible situation,” said Bowen.
“As we stand right now, we really have a challenge with our staffing,” said Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney.
Haney said the district is clamoring last minute to cover all of the ways students will learn during the pandemic.
“We have a limited number of teachers, a limited number of resources and a short period of time in which to make sure every child is provided their learning opportunity,” Haney said.
With constantly changing information, the district must making decisions on students’ first-choice learning options.
The district is still waiting for responses from more than 6 percent of district students.
Already, online teachers average about 50 students per class.
“We are asking parents for just a little bit of patience while we figure out all of the numbers and the requests from all of the parents as kids head back to school and they make their first selection for their learning opportunities.”
Haney says class sizes could get even larger if second-choice options are considered while the district figures out what education looks like next Monday.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.
“I understand that they have their scheduling issues and staffing issues. But it’s a pandemic. I would think we would be able to do it online,” said Bowen.
When Washington County School District started last Thursday, administration there was surprised to see a large number of students show up to classes when they signed up for online learning.
If you haven’t told the district how you want your child to learn, go to the district webpage.