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Do parents want distance learning after pandemic? Jordan School District wants to know

Posted at 9:33 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 23:33:50-05

WEST JORDAN, Utah — The Jordan School District is gauging opinions from parents and educators about continuing Friday distance learning days long after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

A survey sent out to families and teachers asks what they want to see for the next school year, and beyond. It raises the question: Has the pandemic led to a better school schedule, or do people want to return to a pre-pandemic school week?

Some would say the pandemic's taught us how to adapt to change. You could argue it's taught us how to ditch everything we previously knew about our world, and do things differently.

On Wednesday evening, Elk Ridge Middle School ninth grader Karyl Baun became an example of that as she called out, "pull!" and set her sights into the air.

An orange clay pigeon shot out in the distance. She followed it with her shotgun, pulling the trigger at the right moment to bust the target into pieces.

Karyl decided to give target shooting a try, and said she loves it.

"It's kind of my break from school, you could say, she said.

The ninth grader also switched up her school schedule, spending Fridays at home with her three other siblings for distance learning.

"I like the Fridays online, because it's usually small assignments and you can kind of finish them. And then do any missing work, or studying," Karyl said. "It's kind of nice.

Different, is now the norm.

Karyl's mother, Diana Baun, said she loves that the pandemic school schedule gives parents more choice, so they can do what works better for their kids.

"I do love that it's caused us to rethink how we do a lot of things in our lives, especially school," she said.

Which makes one think, should everything go back to how it was? Or should school districts pull the trigger on permanent change?

That's what the Jordan School District is asking all parents, students and teachers in its survey.

Diana said she filled out the survey last week. She pulled it up on her phone and looked through the questions.

One question asks people how satisfied they were with the current Friday schedule, on a scale from 1 (worst) to 5 (best).

It also asked what kind of Friday schedule district families and educators would prefer.

"Here's a couple of options," Diana said, reading the survey. "It says, 'I prefer the current Friday schedule, which would be the virtual learning and the small groups.' They asked if you preferred the current Friday schedule, with some adjustments. If you preferred a return to the pre-pandemic Friday schedule."

The other options include moving the Friday distance learning day to another day during the week, or using the current Friday schedule once or twice a month.

Diana said for her four kids, who range from first grade to ninth grade, the distance learning Fridays have been awesome.

"They have a chance to make up work. They can also go into the school," she explained. "And especially for, we have son who is special needs, and so it's really nice to kind of have a day where he can go in-- in a smaller group, or a one-on-one setting-- and work with his teachers."

But she knows that the Friday schedule hasn't worked for everyone. She'll be curious how the survey results turn out.

The Jordan School District told Fox 13 that the survey is still open and they want to get feedback from as many families and teachers as possible.

The District said they've received 15,000 responses so far. They're planning to present the findings at the school district board meeting on Tuesday.