The Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday approved a plan to transition to four days of classroom learning with Friday reserved for remote, or independent, learning.
The new, blended learning schedule will take effect starting Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, which will give families time to adjust their schedules. It will apply to all students.
In-person learners will attend school according to their regular schedules, Monday through Thursday. There will be no early-out or late start days. Friday will be a planning, collaboration and student-consultation day for teachers and a day of independent study for students. Online learners will continue with their online learning Monday through Thursday and use Friday to do independent work as assigned by their teacher.
The move to “continued learning Fridays” will require a slight calendar change for schools that are on a rolling A/B calendar. These schools will move to a set ABAB schedule, meaning Monday and Wednesday will be “A” days and Tuesday and Thursday will be “B” days. The exception will be schools that are on a trimester or seven-period schedule. This change is necessary to accommodate students who travel to other schools for some of their classes.
The new calendar comes in response to rising COVID-19 case counts in the communities CSD serves. Three of the District’s five traditional high schools have transitioned to online learning, and more than 1,700 students across the District have been placed on quarantine due to their coming in close contact with someone in their community who has tested positive for the disease.
Principals on Tuesday testified to the exhaustion, burnout, and mental duress teachers are experiencing as they struggle to teach changing rosters of students across multiple learning environments (in-person, online and students in quarantine). Up to 25 percent of students are quarantined in some schools, requiring 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.
“This is above and beyond what they are already doing in classroom,” says Draper Elementary Principal Christy Waddell. “And they’re already overwhelmed trying to help students catch up for the missed instructional time from last year.”
Employees, too, are being placed on quarantine, and facing a shortage of substitute teachers, some teachers are having to use their prep periods to cover classrooms for their colleagues. “My best teachers are overwhelmed daily,” says Butler Middle Principal Paula Logan. “This is my 29th year in public education and 20th year as an administrator, and I have never seen such a burden on our teachers.”
The calendar change will better support the instruction of students across all learning paths, from in-person and online learning to Canvas learning for the growing number of students having to be placed on quarantine.
Teachers on Friday will hold virtual office hours by appointment for students and parents, and provide students with learning options to reflect weekly learning expectations.
The calendar change is temporary and the Administration will report back to the Board on outcomes and next steps before the Winter Recess