Five days ago Gov. Gary Herbert announced that the statewide soft closure of schools would be extended to June 30.
Educators in the Tooele County School District learned of the extended closure along with everybody else — as the governor made the announcement, according to Marie Denson, communications director for the school district.
The lack of notice gave administrators, teachers, and staff no time to prepare answers for the almost immediate questions about the details of graduation ceremonies, yearbooks, fee refunds, and other unprecedented issues of how to deal with an early dismissal of the school year.
“A big item to note is that although our last day of school is May 21, the end of the school year is defined by the state as June 30,” said Denson. “That means that group activities and locations will remain canceled/closed through June 30, 2020.”
Many of the issues will be addressed by each individual school, Denson said.
For instance, graduation activities for the Class of 2020 will be established by school student body officers, school administrators, and student advisors. Each high school will announce its plan for graduation ceremonies/activities the week of April 27.
Individual schools should also be contacted for information about yearbooks, collecting personal belongings, and fee refunds — schools have been instructed to to refund fourth quarter participation fees and any reasonable activity or unpurchased uniform fees.
The school district has issued specific guidance for fourth quarter grading.
At the elementary level, kindergarten through sixth grade, there will be no grades given for the fourth quarter.
“Teachers are encouraged to focus on student skills and strengths/weaknesses for report card purposes,” reads the direction for elementary fourth quarter grades.
At the secondary level, seventh through twelfth grade, students who stay engaged will receive an A grade. Stay engaged means “consistent submission of assigned work at best effort,” according to the school district’s grading instructions.
Students who are not engaged due to not participating in learning activities or lack of submission of any assignments will receive an I, or incomplete grade, in the class.
After the fourth term, I grades will be converted to C grades on the student’s transcript. However, I grades may be made up to qualify for A grades within a 30 day make-up period after May 21, 2020, if efforts are made to complete and submit work.
Student grab and go meals will continue on Mondays and Wednesdays through May 20, 2020. There will be a different summer feeding program that starts Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
Road time for drivers education students will be canceled through June 30, 2020.
All Ophir Canyon Education Center camping and community/outdoor education classes are canceled through June 30, 2020.
“Our main guiding principle is to do what is best for students,” said Denson.