SALT LAKE CITY (March 23, 2020) – Gov. Gary R. Herbert, State Superintendent Syd Dickson, and Acting Commissioner of Technical Education Jared Haines announced today that Utah’s K-12 public schools will extend their dismissal through Friday, May 1st, and that Utah’s technical colleges will suspend teaching from Monday, March 30 until Friday, May 1. These entities will continue to evaluate the situation to make a determination about the remaining school year.
On March 13, Governor Herbert announced that all Utah public schools were dismissed for two weeks starting Monday, March 16, as a preventative measure to slow the community spread of COVID-19 in Utah. In a related announcement, School Superintendent Dickson directed public schools to continue to deliver education to all enrolled students. Additional information is available at Utah.gov and schools.utah.gov.
In anticipation of a possible closure and a move to digital teaching and learning, WSD had previously assessed and determined which students needed to check out devices to take home and which students might be without Internet access. WSD’s teachers and administrators spent March 16 and 17 on campus meeting in small groups to plan for a smooth roll out of digital learning to begin March 18, utilizing a host of digital resources, portals, and learning management systems already established at the school and familiar to students. In the midst of this new challenge, they reaffirmed their commitment to providing an excellent education, to sparking curiosity, and to instilling a love of learning in their students.
By March 17, WSD parents had been notified of their students’ schedules of learning, including how students “check in” or “attend” digitally. By the following day, all teachers had begun providing comprehensive digital education to their students. Parents were provided specific instructions regarding assignments, assessments, and deadlines as well as what to do when problems arise with technology or access. Families with unusual needs or concerns were given instructions as to whom to contact.
Teachers are now back to doing what they love to do — teaching! “Teachers are excited to learn and grow alongside their students,” affirms Executive Director, Cindy Phillips, “and they are anxious to get back to the business of teaching in whatever way….We know that this moment in time brings uncertainties, but please rely on our love of our students, our passion for our subjects, and our dedication to doing this new thing well.”
We thank our entire school community for the patience and support shown thus far. As always, we are grateful to be your partners in the important endeavor of educating your children. We continue to emphasize the importance of following all reasonable and recommended precautions outlined by our public health officials, and hope for healthy outcomes among all our WSD families and staff.