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Staying the Course • Crossing the Finish Line of the COVID-19 School Year

The pandemic finish line is in sight, and — as with any marathon — we need to stay the course and keep up our stamina in order to safely put this test of endurance behind us.

With COVID-19 case counts falling and Utah’s vaccination rates picking up, what safety protocols remain in place in Canyons District schools? Are any changes to the weekly school schedule expected this year?

Canyons District will continue to follow all applicable laws and consult with local health guidelines in determining next steps as we head into the final leg of the 2020-2021 school year. For now, here are the latest COVID-19-related developments and updates:

Are face masks still required in schools, on buses?

Yes. Face masks will continue to be required in schools, on buses, and at the District Office after April 10, even for those who have received a vaccination for the novel coronavirus. A bill approved by Utah lawmakers during the 2021 legislative session ends the state’s mask mandate starting April 10. Schools, however, are exempted from the legislation. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has said that, in line with the most recent Utah Department of Health order, “the mask mandate will continue after April 10 in schools and for large gatherings.” Canyons will continue to seek guidance from health authorities and update families and employees of any changes in our safety protocols.

How long will Virtual-Learning Fridays remain in place?

The blended-learning model that calls for four days of in-person learning, while reserving Fridays for independent study, will remain in place for the rest of the school year. The expectation is that next fall, schools will return to a five-day schedule. But to preserve planning and collaboration time for teachers this year, and predictability for staff, parents and students who have established childcare and work routines, the Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday, March 16 opted to stick with virtual Fridays through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. It’s a decision favored by the majority of teachers, parents, and students who voiced their opinions via email and through in-person public comments. The schedule has served as a “release-valve” for teachers who have been required to teach changing rosters of students across multiple learning environments (in-person, online and students in quarantine). Students say it’s also helped them cope with the stresses of the pandemic. Many are using Fridays to consult with faculty, receive tutoring, and meet with students in test-prep groups. To further support students with unfinished learning challenges, the District will offer summer learning opportunities. More details about the programs are forthcoming.

Battle of the Books

The past two Mondays we had Battle of the Books at our school. Monday, March 8th was the 3rd grade and Monday, March 15th was 4th and 5th grade. We were so excited to be able to hold these competitions in person this year. The students worked hard throughout the year, reading lots of books. They held regular virtual meetings with their teammates after school. They created team cheers, posters and outfits.

We want to thank Brinda Slaughter for all her time and effort she put in to planning and organizing this event. Normally we are able to elicit parent volunteers, but due to Covid-19 we couldn’t bring volunteers in the building. Our support staff stepped up and helped on both days of the competitions.

Also, Mcdonalds donated apple slices and Chick-Fil-A (Taylorsville) donated chicken sandwiches for the students the day of their competition. We are grateful for their support and donations. 

And last, but not least, a huge shout out to all the parents! You were your child’s cheerleader throughout the year as they pushed through to read all their books. Some of you were the team parent and organized and led their meetings.

Kindergarten Orientation

Willow Canyon Orientation
Do you have a student who will be attending Willow Canyon next year for Kindergarten? If so, you will want to click on this link to view our Kindergarten Orientation. It is about 11 minutes long. If you have questions after watching the video, feel free to call the office during school hours (Monday-Friday 8:30-3:30). We look forward to meeting your and your child.
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