School board discusses potential plan for return to full-time, in-person learning for second semester
The Moffat County School District Board of Education discussed working on a potential plan to return to full-time, in-person learning during a workshop meeting Thursday afternoon over Zoom.
Superintendent Scott Pankow kicked off the discussion regarding a possible plan by questioning if the district should go back to school in-person full time, specifically at the high school and the middle school.
The discussion to possibly return to full-time, in-person learning comes as Moffat County School District has 348 kids that are quarantined, nine of whom tested positive, which is a 3% positivity rate. Additionally, 37 teachers are quarantined, 3 of which have tested positive.
Pankow added that the situation is so severe at the moment within the district that out of the 48 substitute teachers in the district, they needed 17 at one point this week, of which only 10 showed up to work.
Pankow added in his opening remarks regarding the discussion to possibly return to full-time, in-person learning that Moffat County Public Health officials that he had spoken to said that they want to help the Moffat County School District get back to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. He also pointed out that in discussions with the administrations at the middle school and high school, it became clear that it was hard to change the schedule back to fully in-person compared to a hybrid of in-person and online at this time.
School Board Treasurer Dr. Elise Sullivan did suggest during the meeting that the school district explore the possibility of going to fully online for the week after Thanksgiving in order to hold students out who might have traveled and been exposed over the holiday vacation.
Moffat County School Nurse Myranda Lyons added to the discussion that two classrooms at the high school had to be ordered into quarantine Wednesday after a student in each class tested positive for the virus.
President Joann Baxter voiced her confidence in face of such daunting numbers in Superintendent Pankow and his staff during Thursday’s discussion.
“If we stay the course, unless the governor mandates it, I am very confident that Scott and his administrative staff will get us through this,” Baxter said.
The board decided to remain in wait-and-see mode with a possible return to full-time, in-person learning for the time being, and will likely revisit the discussion at a later date.
Following the discussion regarding a potential plan to move to full-time, in-person learning, the school discussed possibly moving the district to a four-day work week.
Baxter made the point that she was not vetoing the topic all together, and that she finds it interesting but that she does not think it is appropriate to seriously consider it in the midst of everything happening right now.
Board of Education Vice President JoBeth Tupa echoed the sentiments of Baxter and said that it would be hard to do that in the middle of the pandemic to, “the most essential workers in the district.”
The conversation then shifted to athletics when Craig Middle School Athletic Director Sara Linsacum spoke about the fact that other schools in the area work on four day schedules, so with Moffat County being the only one that isn’t, it makes scheduling games hard.
Linsacum specifically cited the example that sometimes teams like Hayden School District wants to schedule games on Friday mornings, which Moffat County is unable to do.
The discussion of a possible four-day school week ended with the plan to revisit the conversation at a later date.
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For the first time in 18 months, the Moffat County High School auditorium will fill with music and singing from students, as the school performs MCHS’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”