OGDEN — Ogden students will return to the classroom this fall, but things won’t look normal.
The district will resume classes Aug. 20 in classrooms for the first time since Gov. Gary Herbert instituted a statewide soft closure of K-12 schools in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with an added emphasis on digital or online learning that includes the use of a personal laptop for every student, the district announced following Monday night's board meeting.
Students and teachers will return to the classroom on a traditional schedule, with focus on six “keys to ensure a safe and healthy return to school” that include increased sanitation and hygiene; personal protective equipment for students, teachers and faculty; physical distancing; student well-being; staff well-being; and student learning and engagement, according to a news release.
Full details of the plan, called Keeping Ogden Healthy, are available online at keepingogdenhealthy.ogdensd.org.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I have the utmost confidence that the Ogden School District will be able to meet and provide for the academic and social-emotional learning opportunities for all of our children,” Ogden superintendent Rich Nye said in a news release.
The district includes around 11,500 students spread out across 19 schools, including three high schools. Approximately 70% of the district’s students are categorized as “high risk” and eligible for free or reduced lunch, meaning schools will trade in the summer lunch program for in-person classes this fall.
Students will receive two reusable face masks to be worn on buses, in the classroom, and in high-traffic common areas where social distancing cannot be observed. Regular temperature and health checks will also be conducted to screen for possible symptoms of COVID-19, the district said.
The district has also launched the Ogden Online Learning Program for students and parents who don’t feel comfortable returning to the classroom.
All students will receive a school-issued Chromebook for use at school and home.
The district says “maybe” when asked if athletics, music, theater and other extracurricular activities will continue, as well.
“Some activities will likely be able to continue while implementing precautions for personal interaction that have not been necessary in the past,” a district release read. “Other activities may not be able to continue or may be restricted to smaller groups or virtual (online) interactions.”
“While COVID-19 has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and trepidation, the Ogden School District stands firm in our vision of empowering excellence through education,” Nye said. “As such, we have been coalescing around the concept of Keeping Ogden Healthy.
"We appreciate the involvement of students, parents, staff, teachers and administrators in developing what has become a very detailed plan to mitigate against the spread of this contagion and to make the intentional investment in the wellbeing of our students and employees.”
Contributing: Deanie Wimmer, KSL TV