It appears Park City students will have the option of going to class in person or online next school year, according to a letter from the school superintendent, Jill Gildea, which is posted on the school district’s website, pcschools.us. Kindergarten through 12th grade classes for the 2020 / 2021 school year start August 20th.
The website says the district has worked on back up plans and different scenarios to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to staff and students. Superintendent Dr. Jill Gildea sent a letter to staff and families about the district’s plans for safety, including practices like physical distancing, hand hygiene, frequent disinfection of high traffic areas and face coverings when social distancing isn't possible. There will also be no large gatherings or assemblies.
Gildea also indicated that the district is still in the process of finalizing the online education option. The district declined KPCW's request for an interview about their reopening plans, but said they would have more information later.
Abby McNulty is the executive director of the Park City Education Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that encourages philanthropic support for the school community. On Monday’s Local News Hour, she said this is a “tricky time” for schools.
“We’re just seeing a lot of conversation about what it takes and what it will look like to be back in school and frankly I think everyone who works in the school space knows this is complicated,” said McNulty. “There’s no easy answers, and it’s really about everyone’s individual comfort level with what they would like to do with their kids. And as a parent I’m grateful that Park City School District will have an option to be in person and online this coming fall.”
McNulty adds that COVID-19 means schools have to do more with less. And when schools closed March 13th, it proved to families that public education is more than academics:
“It’s also child care, it’s also socialization, and engagement and creative exploration, and mental health services and physical well being services for a lot of kids in our community. There’s 25% of the kids in our community live in poverty and they rely on schools for basic needs. Every family’s going to need something different and they’ll make their own decision what’s based on what’s right for them.”
The Park City School District website says they will adjust policies as necessary and provide frequent updates. Superintendent Jill Gildea thanked parents for their patience and understanding as educators navigate uncharted waters.
To see Gildea’s message on the district website, click here. A letter to PCSD staff and families can be seen at the top of this article. Dr. Gildea will be on KPCW's Local News Hour later in July.