The pandemic finish line is in sight, and — as with any marathon — we need to stay the course and keep up our stamina in order to safely put this test of endurance behind us.
With COVID-19 case counts falling and Utah’s vaccination rates picking up, what safety protocols remain in place in Canyons District schools? Are any changes to the weekly school schedule expected this year?
Canyons District will continue to follow all applicable laws and consult with local health guidelines in determining next steps as we head into the final leg of the 2020-2021 school year. For now, here are the latest COVID-19-related developments and updates:
Are face masks still required in schools, on buses?
Yes. Face masks will continue to be required in schools, on buses, and at the District Office after April 10, even for those who have received a vaccination for the novel coronavirus. A bill approved by Utah lawmakers during the 2021 legislative session ends the state’s mask mandate starting April 10. Schools, however, are exempted from the legislation. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has said that, in line with the most recent Utah Department of Health order, “the mask mandate will continue after April 10 in schools and for large gatherings.” Canyons will continue to seek guidance from health authorities and update families and employees of any changes in our safety protocols.
How long will Virtual-Learning Fridays remain in place?
The blended-learning model that calls for four days of in-person learning, while reserving Fridays for independent study, will remain in place for the rest of the school year. The expectation is that next fall, schools will return to a five-day schedule. But to preserve planning and collaboration time for teachers this year, and predictability for staff, parents and students who have established childcare and work routines, the Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday, March 16 opted to stick with virtual Fridays through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. It’s a decision favored by the majority of teachers, parents, and students who voiced their opinions via email and through in-person public comments. The schedule has served as a “release-valve” for teachers who have been required to teach changing rosters of students across multiple learning environments (in-person, online and students in quarantine). Students say it’s also helped them cope with the stresses of the pandemic. Many are using Fridays to consult with faculty, receive tutoring, and meet with students in test-prep groups. To further support students with unfinished learning challenges, the District will offer summer learning opportunities. More details about the programs are forthcoming.