In acknowledgement of the continued pressures faced by teachers and staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canyons Board of Education has approved a plan to set aside six Fridays in the coming months for student remote learning and teacher preparation and planning.
The first “Remote-Learning Friday” will fall on Nov. 5, 2021, giving families time to adjust their schedules. Thereafter, the Administration will schedule five additional remote-learning Fridays. The schedule will take into account schools that are on a rolling ABAB calendar so as to avoid a disproportionate share of the Fridays falling on A or B days.
Remote Fridays are days of learning. Students are expected to use the time for independent study and will be provided learning packets or access to assignments on CSD’s common online-learning management system, Canvas. Teachers will report to school for work and use the time to collaborate with peers, create lesson and intervention plans, and provide any needed outreach to students. They will also hold office hours by appointment for students and parents.
This time is not intended to be used for athletic or performing arts practices.
“The goal here is to support teachers in supporting students. Teachers need more planning and collaboration time to ensure students have the resources they need to excel, and students need more time to catch up on unfinished learning,” said Canyons Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle.
Similar to last year, teachers are reporting increased rates of exhaustion, stress, and burnout due in part to staffing shortages but also to student absenteeism, which requires additional instruction and remediation.
A nationwide labor shortage has made it difficult to hire school support staff and find enough substitutes to cover for teachers who fall ill or have to be pulled from the classroom for District-sponsored trainings. District Office staff are volunteering as substitutes, and the District has suspended the rollout of new initiatives and postponed teacher trainings that aren’t state-mandated or required as a condition of a grant. But the need for substitutes is so acute that it’s still requiring teachers to combine classes or fill in for one another on their preparation periods, leaving them little planning time.
In addition, high rates of student absences, due to illness or students being placed on COVID-19-related quarantine, are resulting in teachers having to invest extra time on interventions to keep students on track with their learning.
The Canyons Board of Education will consider at an upcoming meeting the proposed schedule for future remote-learning Fridays. As soon as the schedule is finalized, families will be directly notified through the District’s official communication channels.