Both Logan and Cache County school districts have submitted tentative plans for the 2020-2021 school year to their respective boards of education for approval on July 21, with Logan sending parents an outline and CCSD planning to make its plan public on Wednesday following the board’s vote.
“The greatest obstacle we have is the unknown,” said Tim Smith, CCSD’s spokesperson. “None of us know what the future holds, but we appreciate everyone’s ability to be flexible and patient with us as we navigate.”
On Friday, LCSD sent parents an outlined version of a plan on “soft-opening” from Aug. 19 to Sept. 25 and is requesting feedback throughout the process.
According to the plan, Logan is planning on half-day schedules Monday through Friday for students, splitting into morning and afternoon groups, with additional options for students needing supplemental “small-group learning” support, to lower class sizes. Temperature checks and health screenings are set to take place in the classroom for each session.
At the end of the soft-opening, the board will once again meet, confer with the Bear River Health Department and review data and feedback from parents to determine how to tentatively proceed with the rest of the school year.
Cache County, on the other hand, is planning on moving forward with only minimal changes, such as shortening class Monday through Friday by 45 minutes.
Smith said the additional time at the end of the day is set aside for teachers to give support to students in a temporary online learning environment, whether they’re ill or just quarantined at home.
“We realize conditions may change, and we may need to adjust,” Smith said. “The governor has set the goal to get us down below 500 cases per day (statewide) by August, and then hopefully we’ll be even lower by the time school starts.”
Similarly, the email from LCSD said if the seven-day running total of positive COVID-19 cases in the community “decreases significantly” between July 21 and Aug. 10, the district will consult with BRHD to determine whether the half-day soft-opening of schools or a return to a full seven-day schedule (though still offering online learning opportunities for those families who prefer them) would be recommended.
Both school districts are planning on having a fully online option for parents who are uncomfortable sending their children for face-to-face instruction, with registration set to open on Monday for CCSD and Wednesday for Logan. Online classes would be operated by a third party, such as the self-paced Edgenuity Learning System for LCSD, though Logan’s email added with “weekly guidance and support from a LCSD teacher.”
Logan has set an Aug. 7 deadline for online-only registration.
Smith says 8% of parents who filled out a districtwide survey for CCSD were interested in pursuing an online-only environment for their children, while the rest of respondents were planning on sending their kids to school for face-to-face.
Both districts said masks would be required for students, staff and visitors, per Gov. Gary Herbert’s July 9 mandate for K-12 schools, though written before Herbert’s Thursday clarification of “common sense” exemptions, such as lunchtime, if distancing beyond 6 feet is possible and cases of disabilities.
Logan is planning on providing two face masks per student (and allowing alternatives, such as gaiters), and Cache is planning to provide each student with a face mask or shield, as well.
After the Tuesday vote on the proposals for each district’s school opening, they are to be sent to the governor’s office no later than Aug. 1 for state approval.