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Davis School District Moving To In-Person Learning Four Days A Week

FARMINGTON, Utah – Twelve days into the new school year, Davis School District officials have approved a plan that will bring students back to the classroom four days a week by the end of the month.

The Davis School District has 72,897 students enrolled in 90 district schools, according to its website. So far, students have followed a hybrid model that puts them in the classroom twice a week on alternating days with three days of remote learning.

It also gives teaches smaller in-person class sizes and allows for more physical distancing.

“Please allow us the right to continue to feel safe at work,” said Amy, a parent and teacher in the Davis School District and one of a handful of people who participated in the public comment portion of Tuesday’s board meeting.

“I’m not worried about dying,” she said. “I know that the rate of survival is high. But being on a respirator or having long term complications doesn’t sound too good either.”

District officials said they’ve had 93 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 since the start of the school year, and 164 people have been quarantined because of exposure at school.

With just two weeks of data, the district said the hybrid model has helped limit the number of students and staff who need to be quarantined, but has not led to fewer infections.

“This is not working. We are not receiving a quality education that we received last year,” said parent Emily Daily. “There are huge flaws in the system right now for hybrid. And we need to readdress that.”

“I know as leaders you’re trying to figure out the best way,” said Oliver Young, addressing the school board. “We should understand our risks. However, the hybrid system is not worth what we’re doing to our children.”

In a survey of a sample of the district’s high school teachers, they estimated 85% engagement from students in remote learning. A sample of their junior high students estimated 50% active participation online.

“I appreciate the decisions that have been made up to this point,” Young said. “But I feel like the risk needs to be weighed in order to open up and more fully guarantee a brighter future for our kids.”

The school district offered up two different plans to the board to bring the students back to the classroom full-time. By the end of the night, the board agreed on the shorter, two-phase plan.

This plan will bring elementary students back to the classroom Monday through Thursday beginning September 28. Secondary students will begin that schedule the following week on October 5.

Friday will remain a day for remote learning, but phase two of the plan would be a normal five-day per week schedule.

“If the state had valued education more in the past we would be in a better position to be at a full schedule with smaller classes and facilities that could handle it. But that is not our reality,” Amy told the board.

The school district acknowledged the challenges of returning to more school days, which include less room for physical distancing, the potential for more people to be quarantined per infected individual and, of course, the challenges staff and students at high risk could face as a result.

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