South Summit School District updated KPCW with details on COVID-19 back to school protocols, master planning and their new High School Principal.
South Summit School District has been lucky according to Superintendent Shad Sorenson, who says the schedule they have devised gives them one day during the week to perform a deep clean while all students and teachers are working from home.
“Actually, there are three different plans. One group is completely virtual, that have chosen to do it that way. Then we have another group that are attending school Mondays and Tuesdays in person. This is in our Kamas schools. Everybody has a remote learning day on Wednesday. And then they attend again in person on Thursday and Friday. And then our Silver Summit [Academy] is just tweaked a little bit from that. High school students attend two days in person and the rest is virtual and middle school attend two days in person and then virtual on alternate days.”
Sorenson says they have been able to offer options for teachers who want, to teach from home. They have not had any teacher resignations since the start of school, and he says the staff is gaining confidence in handling the challenges of virtual learning.
There has been one COVID-19 case diagnosed in the school district which was handled according to county health guidelines.
Due to continued growth and academic needs, the district purchased two portables. Sorenson says one will provide a state-of-the-art science center at the high school.
“We have two portables, one over at Silver Summit to handle some of the growth there. It’s a very temporary portable as we finish off building 2. And then we have a brand-new science lab coming on for South Summit High School in Kamas next month. it is amazing. The portables were brought on a semi-trailer, they were put onto a permanent foundation and they're putting on a roof now.”
Three board seats are up for election in November and he says future school bond decisions will be up to the new board members. For now, he says the trailers will help buy them time.
A new high school principal, Chris Jensen joined the district this summer. His background is a teacher, then Assistant Principal and for the past six years, he was the principal of Highland High School in Salt Lake City.
“Been at Highland High School for 27 years and my wife Angie and I, we've lived in Draper and I've made that commute from Draper to Salt Lake for that many years. And the opportunity came to come up to South Summit and it's just a dream to be able to have this opportunity to come up and serve this wonderful community. It’s just been wonderful. I just can't tell you I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven here.”
They’re hosting football games and other sports but not without constant reminders about mask wearing and social distancing. Jensen says in his first weeks they hosted a socially distant but successful homecoming out on the football field.
“We worked very closely with the Summit County Health Department and with Shad and the board to provide an experience for the kids. It was a little chilly. We did it outside on the football field and had our masks and all of our chaperones and everything. It was a lot of fun but pretty cold.”
$30,000 in CARES money has been donated to the school district by Kamas City to help pay for PPE in the schools.