FARMINGTON, Utah – The Davis School District is sticking with its plan to hold half its classes on campus and the other half online, despite complaints from parents.
The board voted unanimously to back the plan two days after those parental complaints forced them to hold an emergency meeting on the issue.
Before the vote, parents like Julie Parkinson, who has also been a teaching assistant at her kids’ school, argued that kids need to be on campus five days a week.
“There is a risk [from COVID-19]. We know it,” Parkinson said. “But I also saw those kids that didn’t get any extra attention at home get the extra attention at school. Through a TA, through teachers, through resources…I saw them get that extra motivation. I saw their confidence grow…And then March hit. And I talked to teacher after teacher who said kids did not participate [in online learning],” Parkinson said.
Others were worried about how special needs kids would be able to access services.
However, some teachers and students did speak in support of the district’s plan.
Many board members, like Brigit Gerrard, sympathized with working parents but felt a hybrid plan was the safest option.
“I would rather start cautiously, instead of starting five days a week,” Gerrard said. “And possibly having chaos erupt with many sick teachers and students and staff, and then having to close the school and possibly go back to full remote, which is something no one wants to do.”
Board member Marie Stevenson said she wishes her grandchildren could go back to class, but that might not be possible right now.
“I feel it is a cautious approach to reopening schools. I strongly feel [it] meets our students’ physical, educational, social, and mental needs. Existing class sizes makes it absolutely impossible to allow physical distancing of our students,” Stevenson said.
Board members also stressed that special needs students and others who rely on school services would still have access to them.
They also said they could change the plan when Utah’s COVID-19 cases go down.
Under the hybrid schedule, students would go to class for two days a week based on their last name and then have three days of online instruction.
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