Last week the Park City School District told teachers and administrators that if able they could do their jobs from home. With schools being suspended earlier this month, this means school buildings would no longer be a place to gather until further notice.
KPCW’s Carolyn Murray has this update of how teachers and students are connecting remotely. The schools are not going to be sealed off completely and teachers will be able to access their classrooms if needed. However, Superintendent Jill Gildea hopes the janitorial staff will now have a chance to get in and do deep cleaning without interruption while the entire district is telecommuting.
Gildea says families have been in touch with the school district to keep them up to date on COVID-19 possible cases.
“We do have some presumed positives that our families have called in, so waiting for confirmation on some of those from the health department. But basically, we’re taking people at their word. My letter came out based on one family that had called in."
Students in grades two through five now have devices with them at home where they can access on-line learning programs. There is IT support for students and parents if needed.
Chief Academic Officer Amy Hunt told KPCW that the system they use lets middle and high school students check in anytime of the day where they will find pre-recorded instructional pieces and assignments. Students can do their work on their own schedule. She says many teachers are holding virtual office hours on-line so students can log in and interact in real time. Hunt says there are plenty of opportunities for students to connect with their teachers either online or through email if they need additional support.
“Moving from a face to face environment to an online environment is different than we might think and sometimes it's easy to over schedule online. So we're really working with teachers to make sure that they are making the amount of work that's there for students appropriate and we're really trying to make sure that our teachers are checking in with our students to see and get some feedback about how they're doing online.”
The elementary school kids are using online reading and math programs to continue their individual progress. They can tell which kids have logged on and teachers are connecting with families regularly. Mostly Gildea wants parents and guardians to not worry about their children falling behind.
“We’re going to meet the kids where they’re at when they come back. It’s much more important for the families to really just connect with their children right now. Read them a story, have the kids read to them. Write a story, you know make them feel safe and secure because we're in such unchartered territory. We want kids to be able to look back at this time and feel they were well taken care of."
Gildea says they have every adult in the school district in charge of checking in on a group of 15 students whom they are assigned. Gildea and her staff are relying on the community to let them know if they are missing something. Kids with individualized learning plans won’t have nursing services and physical and occupational therapy until they return to school.
It’s uncertain that state testing will occur this spring, so they may not have data as students move from this year into the next. She says ACT and SAT testing may be available over the summer.
“As long as our students have logged in and our families kept the log, then we have already submitted a distance learning plan to the state and the state has already approved districts to be able to use this E-learning method.”
Gildea says they’re hopeful schools will open soon, and the graduating class of 2020 assures her the shut-down will be used as their senior skip day.