Logan's Board of Education adopts plan for temporary, half-day 'soft-opening'
After three hours of discussion and dissecting details of Logan City School District’s plan to return to school in the fall, Logan’s Board of Education approved shortening a proposed temporary “soft-opening” consisting of a half-day schedule for that time.
The other option, rejected by the board, was instituting a districtwide A/B schedule where students would receive full-day instruction twice a week with mostly-normal class periods to limit students’ exposure to COVID-19.
Though the crowd in attendance of the meeting held in the Logan High School auditorium was small — fewer than a dozen people — Board President Ann Geary said the board had received hundreds of comments through a districtwide survey, as well as through members of the public reaching out over the last few months.
Some in the audience and viewing the livestream of the meeting from home felt their desires to see the alternate schedule chosen were ignored, such as Karen Erickson, who has a child in elementary, middle and high school.
“There's still so many things about that plan that we don't have answers to,” Erickson said. “How is it going to work, you know, for kids on different schedules and at different schools and the lunch thing and things like that?”
Geary said the inclusion of the A/B schedule in discussions was proof the board considered feedback as it was only added as an option due to parents’ comments asking if it was possible.
Superintendent Frank Schofield boiled the two options down to three priorities for students: physical health, social and emotional wellbeing and academic standing. He said the half-day option prioritized students’ emotional and social health, followed by physical health and academic instruction while the A/B plan prioritized physical health and academics.
Others, like Bill Crowson, felt neither option is worth it. Crowson’s three sons have attended Logan High School, and he said the youngest “is being robbed of the experience that the older ones got to have.”
“I am not a germ, OK?” he said. “My children are not germs. The dehumanizing of one another, as teachers and people and human beings down to the point of germs is not good, and anybody who minimizes each other down to the point of germs is wrong. This is wrong.”
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Crowson, who argued it “shouldn’t be a matter of the best education possible, it should be a matter of the best education, period,” yelled “choose freedom over fear” as he exited the meeting.
Schofield agreed that neither option is best.
“Because we are still dealing with a major health issue and concern for students and staff,” Schofield said. “We feel confident that we need to have a structure that allows for some sort of physical distancing while we are establishing procedures and behavioral habits in the school. Both of these plans do that.”
In the end, the half-day schedule was chosen because, as Larry Williams — the only former-educator currently serving on the board — said, “daily contact for instructional purposes is important.”
And as Board Member Kristie Cooley added, “it’s only for 17 days.”
Another reason for the half-day schedule was to minimize harm for students who relied on school lunch as the A/B plan would have required curbside pickup — something that may not have been possible for students home alone while parents and family worked.
Williams and other board members agreed ideally the district will move to a full-time schedule when the board meets again on Sept. 8 to determine the best plan moving forward after the soft-opening period of Aug. 19-Sept. 11, depending on the current rate of coronavirus spread in the Bear River Health District.
Schofield said the tentative plan to return to full-time daily instruction will be once the rate of transmission gets close to 1:1.
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