LOGAN – As school districts across the state work to create their return-to-school policies for the upcoming academic year, the Logan City School District has been getting feedback from parents and teachers. Superintendent Frank Schofield says his district’s plan will be unveiled at a Logan City School Board meeting on Tuesday, July 21st and may include several measures to keep students and faculty safe and healthy.
One of the issues being evaluated, Schofield says, is how much in-school instruction may be taking place.
“When we ask parents about the academic environment they are most interested in, 51% of parents are requesting that we have an in-person, face-to-face instruction at the school,” Schofield explains. “Thirty-five percent have said they prefer some sort of flexible schedule with alternating days, and about 13% said their preference would be an online learning option only so students wouldn’t have to go to school.”
He says the teachers in his district similarly prefer face-to-face instruction over online learning.
If, in fact, instruction does take place in the schools, Schofield says his district is also examining how to keep the school environment safe. The district is purchasing electrostatic sprayers to disinfect classrooms (which Schofield describes as being similar to a fogger, disinfecting surfaces above and below desks), providing masks and face shields for staff, providing re-usable face masks for students (as provided by the state of Utah and purchased by the district) and placing signs around the schools to remind students about appropriate spacing.
The district is also considering whether or not masks should be required all day or if students get a mask break, what the protocols might be for cleaning re-usable masks, whether or not classrooms get cleaned and disinfected individually or school-wide, and how classrooms may be redesigned to enable physical distancing. For example, choir classes will likely be relocated from the music room to the auditorium to provide more spacing.
“Really, what we’re just trying to do,” Schofield continues, “is identify how do we, as much as we can, protect the safety of our students, the safety of our staff and address the needs of many members of our community who, as much as they might like the idea of an online option, don’t have the ability to manage that with their children at home. They need their children to be in school.”
On July 9th, the Utah High School Activities Association Board of Trustees voted to continue extra-curricular activities as normally scheduled for the fall. The UHSAA also affirmed a stance of allowing schools and local school districts, in conjunction with local government leaders and health department officials, to determine whether participation in high school activities is allowed under state and local guidelines.
Schofield says while it’s encouraging to see that activities will take place for students, there are still more questions that need to be answered.
“If we have athletics, how many spectators do we allow, do you allow spectators? Do you manage that type of setting? When you get into things like debate, musical performances, plays, there are still a lot of questions about how you can manage those activities in a way that promotes the safety of the students and the safety of any observers. Those are things we’re still trying to hammer out, and we haven’t received any clear guidance yet.”
The Logan City School District will reveal their proposal for the 2020-2021 school year on July 21st at 5 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Logan High School auditorium and streamed on Facebook.