Pause and Reset: Canyons Announces COVID-19-Related Emergency Remote-Learning Day

A steady rise in student absences and COVID-19 cases, and worsening staffing shortages, have prompted Canyons to call for an emergency Remote-Learning Day.

On-campus instruction will be suspended at all Canyons schools for one day on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, which is being set aside for at-home learning. The plan is to resume in-person learning on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have committed to keeping students and employees safe while preserving in-person learning. This stated commitment hasn’t changed. What has changed are the mounting operational challenges we face amid the omicron surge,” said Canyons Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins.

The temporary shift to remote learning was approved by the Canyons Board of Education in consultation with the Utah State Board of Education, state elected leaders, and the Salt Lake County Health Department with the understanding that this will better meet students’ academic, safety, and wellness needs.

Because the remote learning day falls after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and an already scheduled no-student day, this will give Canyons schools five consecutive days to pause and reset in line with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s new five-day isolation and incubation guidelines.

“We’re hoping the timing of this reset, falling as it does on a holiday weekend, will help disrupt transmission of the virus, while keeping the disruption to family schedules at a minimum. But we need the community’s help in strictly following the health safety measures that have been recommended by health authorities,” Robins said.

Schools will use the five days for deep cleaning and to host another vaccine clinic to make it easier for our employees to get their booster shots.

To provide teachers and school staff with additional planning time to support the needs of the growing numbers of students who are out sick and learning from home, the Board also approved two additional remote-learning Fridays, bringing to eight the total of Remote Fridays for the year (see calendar below).

Despite implementing new COVID-19 prevention measures — the countywide face mask requirement, ramping up coronavirus testing and school cleanings, and sponsoring after-school vaccine clinics for students and employees — case counts are reaching new heights in the Canyons community.

Meanwhile, student absences are rising steadily along with employee absences, worsening an already prolonged labor shortage.

“We had a day where 17 percent of our full-time employees were absent for health or personal reasons, causing up to hour-long delays on some bus routes and depleting our available pool of substitute teachers,” Robins said. “It is becoming more difficult to cover classrooms with our pool of trained and approved subs, forcing schools to get creative to cover the classes with onsite staff.”

Parents were notified Tuesday evening of the pivot to online learning via email.

Emergency-closure and remote learning expectations:

  • On remote-learning days, elementary students will work independently with a parent or guardian to complete the assignments and learning expectations communicated by their teacher using instructional packets or by logging in to CSD’s Canvas learning portal.
  • Middle and high school students will log in to the Canvas dashboard for each of their classes and work their way through their regular course schedules.
  • Teachers will be available on remote-learning days via email and connect with students through Canvas and Zoom or Google Meet.
  • There will be no disruption in extracurricular activities. Sporting events and practices, and theatrical rehearsals and performances will continue as previously scheduled.

Remote-Learning Schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 18
Friday, Jan. 28
Friday, Feb. 4
Friday, Feb. 11
Friday, March 25
Friday, April 22 (All schools except Brighton High)
Friday, April 29 (Brighton High only)

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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