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Board Meeting Summary, Sept 22, 2020

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Board Summary

As a result of the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Alta and Brighton high schools will shift this week to an online-learning-only instructional model for 14 days. The schools will return to in-person learning on Oct. 12. Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins said the move was needed based on several factors, including the exponential rate of the increase, the rates of community spread, and the numbers of students and teachers on quarantine. One of the big challenges, he said, is trying to meet the educational needs of both the students in classes and home at quarantine, who are attempting to keep pace on Canvas, CSD’s online learning management system. Robins said that amount of work is not sustainable and the quality of education will suffer. Information about the pivot to online learning for a two-week period was sent to the community and posted on the CSD website on Tuesday evening. Canyons Director of Research and Assessment Dr. Hal Sanderson also updated the Board on the recent numbers of positive COVID-19 cases associated with Canyons District schools and the spread in the communities. 

Four-Day Schedule

The Board of Education approved a plan to transition to four days of classroom learning with Friday reserved as a day for virtual, or independent, learning. The new schedule will take effect starting Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, which will give families time to adjust their schedules. It will apply to all students, including online learners. From kindergarten through the 12th grade, students will attend school according to their regular schedules, Monday through Thursday with no early-out or late start. Friday will be a planning day for teachers and a day of independent learning for students. The move comes after several principals testified to the exhaustion, burnout, and mental duress teachers are experiencing as they struggle to teach revolving classrooms of students across multiple learning environments (in-person, online and students in quarantine). Up to 25 percent of students are quarantined in some schools, forcing teachers to spend 10 to 12 extra hours a week preparing audio and video lessons to accompany the written instructions they’re making available on CSD’s online common-learning management system, Canvas.

Updated Framework

The Board of Education updated language in the framework was recently adopted to guide decisions about COVID-19 case count in school communities. The new language identifies actions the District will take as cases rise at an individual school. 

Online Learning

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward provided an update about online learning in Canyons District. Dr. Roderick-Landwards said the online-learning program was created in 30 days, once the Back-to-School Action Plan’s learning options were identified, and they have increased in rigor since the springtime pivot to online learning during the “soft closure” Utah of schools. Roderick-Landward explained how ISD is working on improving the online offerings and is asking for feedback in surveys, digging into engagement analytics, and reviewing the usability of Canvas pages of Canyons teachers. The Board asked for additional data and examples of best-practice within the District. 

Patron Comment

Mandy Allen and Samantha Webb spoke to the Board via teleconference. Recordings of their remarks can be accessed on BoardDocs. 

Board Member Reports

Mrs. Amanda Oaks thanked the staff for the work on the proposals discussed during the meeting and asked about the mental-health benefits that are provided to employees during this challenging time.

Mrs. Amber Shill thanked Board members for the robust discussion about important items. She says that teachers and students will benefit from the decisions made tonight. She also commented on the private Homecoming dances that are being held, and encouraged the community the observe safety precautions both at and away from the school. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked the Administration and the Board for their work on complex proposals. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold expressed appreciation for the Board members and the employees for their hard work.

Mr. Chad Iverson thanked Board members and staff for their work.

Mr. Mont Millerberg urged the community to adhere to safety precautions such as mask wearing, hand-washing and physical distancing so schools can remain open.

President Tingey expressed appreciation for the work that was done to prepare for the meeting.

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