SALT LAKE COUNTY — The Jordan School District is getting closer to finalizing a plan that will get students back in the classroom for the 2020-2021 school year.
Members of the board voted Monday in favor of a four-day school week that would allow students to do classwork online on Fridays.
Parents will be able to opt out of sending their kids back to the classroom if they are uncomfortable. Those students will go through online curriculum five days a week.
The first day of school is scheduled for August 17.
“You don’t need to go looking for other options if you do not want to send your child to school,” Dunford said. “We made the decision to not eliminate recess, to not eliminate the cafeteria. Recess is important for elementary kids.”
Thousands of parents and employees filled out surveys to give their perspective on their level of comfort in returning.
President Bryce Dunford of the Jordan School District board said the “vast majority” of the people who responded to the survey said they were either “comfortable” or “very comfortable” returning.
“Every day but Friday, that sounds like a pretty good idea!” student Ethan Guymon said. “Even if we don’t go back as much, I just want to get back at least a little bit.”
“I think it’s a good idea. I hope we can come back to normality in the next month,” said father Cesar Garcia. “They need to go to school.”
Not all the feedback was positive. Dunford said he received about 45 emails from angry parents after the decision was finalized.
“No, sending students to school is not the safest thing to do, but it’s important to students for their mental health,” Dunford said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of people upset. Some people are going to claim we’re not protecting the health and safety of our students, other people will say we’re too concerned about health and safety and that we’re not concerned about their emotional wellbeing.”
Many of the details surrounding the beginning of the school year have yet to be ironed out, including whether students should be required to wear masks.
“If the county requires masks, we’ll require masks. If the county doesn’t require them, we won’t require them,” Dunford said. “Our only concern is how do you enforce that? How do you enforce a group of second graders and mandate that they wear a mask? What do you do with special needs? We don’t want our students to be shamed… We’re not going to send students home. We’re not going to kick them out.”
The next Jordan School District board meeting is scheduled for July 28.