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Start of school delayed until Aug. 24 in response to teacher, community concerns

The first day of school in Canyons District this fall has been pushed back one week. 

By making a slight change to the academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year, members of the Canyons Board of Education decided Tuesday to start school on Monday, Aug. 24 instead of Monday, Aug. 17.

The decision was made during a regular meeting of the Board of Education held at the Canyons District Offices, 9361 S. 300 East. 

“The change to the academic calendar was made after much reflection, review, and thoughtful input from parents, teachers and students,” said Nancy Tingey, President of the Canyons Board of Education. “The slight postponement of the start of the school year honors requests from our hard-working teachers while also minimizing disruption to families’ schedules.”  

The change will give teachers, whose contracts start on Aug. 10, two full work weeks to get ready for the start of school as the District adapts to and becomes familiar with safety protocols enacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

As a result of the change, the majority of CSD students will start school on Aug. 24. Preschool and Kindergarten, including the Supplemental Hours of Instruction program, will begin Thursday, Aug. 27.  Information about other events, such as student orientations, will be made available in the coming days. 

Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins said pushing back the school-year start date will provide extra time for schools to plan and implement health and wellness precautions that are included in CSD’s COVID-19 Back-to-School Action Plan. Each Canyons school also has developed a site-specific safety plans that can be accessed on school websites. 

The District’s state-required plan, developed with guidance from the Utah governor’s office and the Utah State Board of Education, calls for extensive cleaning and Personal Protection Equipment such as Plexiglas in high-traffic areas, face coverings, and improved air flow and filtering. 

In all, Canyons plans to spend nearly $1 million on cleaning measures and safety precautions. Hygiene supplies, such as hand sanitizer, will be available in all schools.  

Canyons’ return-to-school initiative also provides maximum flexibility to parents to decide what learning option is best for their families. As part of Online Registration, which started July 27, families can choose to return to school for in-person learning or turn to online classes. They also can elect to engage in at-home, parent-guided, CSD-supported learning. CSD is still taking registration for the school year. 

The change to the start of the school year reflects requests from teachers. Dr. Robins has been meeting with Canyons Education Association leadership on a weekly basis to discuss issues related to the start of school.  

Canyons will now request a waiver to the rule requiring 180 days of school in an academic year

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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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