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State issues extension on K-12 and Technical College dismissal
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.
Gov. Herbert expressed his appreciation to the educators throughout our state who have quickly adapted their instruction to remote learning platforms.
“These are unprecedented times in Utah’s and our nation’s history,” the governor said, “I have been overwhelmed with Utahns’ outpouring of support for one another, and nowhere has this been more evident than in the way our educators are supporting Utah students and families.”
Distance learning will continue during the extended dismissal for all K-12 public schools, where feasible. Employees will be limited at school buildings, following the Governor’s and CDC’s guidelines to avoid gatherings of groups of ten or more. Teachers are being, and will continue to be, encouraged to telecommute when possible.
“We recognize that being away from school creates additional work and stress for everyone in our communities; however, it is a necessary step in stopping the spread of COVID-19,” said State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson. “During the uncertainties of the coming weeks, it is more important than ever to remain socially connected with our students and families while doing our best to ensure learning continues. The flexibility and initiative of our educators is a shining
example of how we rise together in challenging circumstances.”
Meal services at K-12 public schools will also continue on an as-needed basis. Please visit the Utah State Board of Education’s website for an interactive map of emergency meals available for c children daily.
In addition, all of Utah’s technical colleges will temporarily cease instruction and coursework beginning Monday, March 30th through Friday, May 1st. Utah’s higher education campuses have previously moved to strictly online instruction; however, given the unique nature of technical college coursework with hands-on instruction and open-entry scheduling, continuing in an online-only model is not widely feasible for students at this time.
Students currently enrolled in technical college programs will retain their progress toward completion during this pause. In addition, college presidents have discretion to address limited exceptions for delivering coursework online or for individuals or small groups of students nearing completion, following the guidelines provided by the CDC and for which instructional equipment can be properly sterilized. Colleges will provide further guidance to their employees.
“I appreciate the willingness of our UTech instructors and programs to be flexible through this time of disruption,” Interim Commissioner Jared Haines said, “We are invested in the quality of our instruction and want technical college students to have the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in industry. This requires hands-on labs and assessments that we are unable to safely administer at this time. Students will be able to seamlessly resume their progress toward completion as soon as possible.”
The COVID-19 Task Force, Utah Department of Health, and Governor Herbert will continue to monitor and assess the risks, and respond accordingly in conjunction with Utah’s school officials. All of our schools play an important role in protecting our communities from the growing spread of coronavirus/COVID-19.
For more statewide information, we would encourage you to visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/. For questions related to K-12 public schools, visit https://schools.utah.gov/coronavirus, or contact your local school, district, or charter. For questions related to technical colleges, click on the COVID-19 link on each institution’s website.
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) is waiving certain requirements and suspending statewide assessment in light of national and state declarations of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions seek to minimize burden and allow flexibility at the local level to continue education and services in a way that best serves the needs of their communities. The Board also directed staff to continue to distribute state funding to local education agencies (LEAs). The Board’s motion, including a list of all rules to be waived, can be found on the USBE’s Coronavirus Website, under “News and Updates.”
Rules to be waived include instructional day and hour requirements, transportation requirements, and extending deadlines for various programs that fall between April and May. These waivers are effective immediately and in place through June 30, 2020.
The waivers are conditioned on:
“We sought to strike the appropriate balance between the Board’s oversight and accountability responsibilities, along with commonsense flexibility that LEAs need to support educators and families at this time,” said Board Chair Mark Huntsman. “This is likely just the beginning. We’ll continue actively monitoring and responding to this situation as it evolves.”
Further, the Board voted to suspend the requirement for the administration of statewide assessments this school year. The Board also directed the Superintendent to pursue all necessary waivers from applicable federal and state laws. These assessments in Utah include RISE for students in grades 3-8 and Utah Aspire Plus for students in grades 9-10.
“The prospect of schools being held accountable to administer required assessments and impacted by the resulting accountability determinations is an unnecessary distraction to the challenges of maintaining a continuity of instructional service, minimizing trauma and stress, and striving to meet the needs of each student,” said Assistant Superintendent Darin Nielsen.
Utah is joining more than 35 other states in seeking flexibility from federal laws requiring administration of statewide assessments. Given the high-stakes accountability nature of the assessment, it is not possible to administer the assessments in an online, unsecure environment.
“We are continuing to prioritize our students, families, and adults that serve them as we work to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson. “This is a defining moment in our state. We need to be unified in our prevention and reaction measures in order to ensure our students and communities can be successful moving forward.”
In accordance with Superintendent Dickson’s and Governor Herbert’s request, Dixie Montessori will engage in a 2 week “school dismissal” beginning Monday, March 16 and finishing Sunday, March 29. This 2-week dismissal may be extended at any time. DMA is lucky in that the first week of this dismissal is Spring Break, and we have already prepared Extended Learning Packets for all students. The school dismissal includes the following key elements:
After the initial 2 week experience, the state will give further guidance. The Governor and State Superintendent were very clear that this is not vacation time. Students should continue working and learning from home. Teachers will be back on duty after Spring Break to assist you as much as possible via email or telephone.
Thank you for all your patience and support,
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