Alta High School has taken two weeks to both temporarily move students online and to formulate a plan on how to make the students return to school safe. As of Wednesday, October 7, Alta will be implementing the Hybrid/Split Schedule allowing half of the students to attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other half to attend Wednesdays and Thursdays. This plan will hopefully decrease the amount of positive COVID-19 cases at school and also decrease the number of students in quarantine.
“Our Superintendent has recommended to our school board for Alta to return to an in-person hybrid/split schedule as of this Wednesday,” said Principal Brian McGill. “The split-schedule opens the door for students to return to campus for classes while also reducing the number of students on campus at any one time.”
District and school leadership believe this schedule will slow the spread of COVID-19 and possibly reduce the number of students put into quarantine after possible exposure. The plan also supports better physical distancing, and it will “supplement existing contact tracing efforts.”
The split schedule allows for half of the student population to attend at a time leading to significantly decreasing the likelihood of transmission within the community. The school has organized this so that students with the last names of A-K will attend Mondays (A Day) and Tuesdays (B Day) then students with last names starting L-Z will attend Wednesdays (A Day) and Thursdays (B Day).
Fridays will be a day of virtual learning, or independent study, for students Dr. McGill said. “Teachers will be planning, collaborating with colleagues, and preparing for the coming week, as part of the new blended-learning schedule that started at Canyons District schools on Monday, October 5.”
Between teaching classes in person to grading hundreds of assignments to now trying to make classroom activities available online, teachers have been working to their absolute limits. Canyons School District has pushed for online schooling on Fridays where teachers may be able to update Canvas and Skyward during the day and also allow students to independently study; relieving stress on both sides.
Canyons School District hopes to conclude this Hybrid/Split schedule before October, 26, the beginning of Quarter 2, however, at present, Alta remains at a concerning level of coronavirus cases. The 22 current COVID-19 cases (nearly 0.95% of the Alta population) causes the temporary schedule to have the possibility to remain intact with the added chance of additional precautionary measures to be taken after consulting with the Salt Lake County Health Department.
“Utah High School Activities Association-sponsored activities can continue as planned as long as there have not been three or more positive cases within a two-week period on one sports team or performing group and required health precautions are taken,” explained the Canyons School District.
Canyons have allowed for school-sponsored activities to continue unless group levels become a subject of concern. Through the 14 days online and during hybrid scheduling, team sports and other activities will remain.
Alta High School along with the Canyons Board of Education have organized a plan to monitor the situation and evaluate options in consultation with the Salt Lake County Health Department in order to keep safety the highest priority in their students’ and faculties’ lives.
Alta will continue its mask-wearing policy along with its physical distancing arrangement through the split scheduling to continue its effort to protect students, faculty, and staff. Until further notice, Alta will remain in its Hybrid/Split Schedule while also including Fall Recess (Oct. 15-16).