Stock: Provo School District 01

The Provo City School District Administration Building is pictured on Monday, April 2, 2018, in Provo.

The Provo City School District announced Monday that teachers are ready to begin offering online instruction to students.

While over 16,000 students across the Provo City School District are home free from instruction for the first part of this week, teachers and community leaders have been working to have everything set for classes to begin on Wednesday.

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Utah’s public and charter schools would be placed on a two-week dismissal, or “soft closure,” during a press conference Friday. The decision was made to maintain social distancing recommendations which slow the spread of coronavirus.

Since the press conference, the Utah Coronavirus Task Force has announced 41 Utah residents and 10 visitors have tested positive for COVID-19, including a Wasatch High School student.

From transferring curriculums into virtual assets to setting up thousands of Chromebook laptops with the necessary software, essential staff put in extra hours to ensure their students had everything they would need to be successful during the unexpected transition from in-person to online classes.

Although classes will reconvene from remote locations Wednesday, much of the day will be spent preparing students for the weeks to come as well as ensuring each student has the support they need to be successful.

Parents were directed to pick up supplies that were already laid out for them at their children’s schools on Tuesday. When registering for Chromebooks, parents were asked to select a pick-up time to avoid creating a large gathering of people, which goes against state and federal health officials’ recommendations.

By a little after 8 p.m. Monday, the district had received calls from over 2,370 households who registered to pick up almost 3,000 devices.

The district was able to provide one Chromebook for every two students, meaning that families with more than one student would be asked to share one device per every two children.

Preschool students were also provided with “learning kits” that included books and coloring pages that teachers organized beforehand.

Students and parents should have received more information from their teachers about how to proceed Tuesday evening. Most students will be managing their work through a digital learning platform, according to a statement from the Provo City School District.

Elementary school students will mostly be relying on Google Classroom while secondary school students will be using Canvas.

Most students will already be accustomed to these platforms, the statement said, as they have used digital learning management systems to do schoolwork prior to the dismissal. If teachers believe students have not yet used these tools, they will send instructions to parents.

Parents should be in communication with local districts and charter schools for information on specific services available during the dismissal.

For parents who do not have at-home internet, Comcast and other internet providers are offering discounted or complimentary services for a specified period of time.

For low-income families in the Comcast service area, students can receive 60 days of complimentary internet with the “Internet Essentials” package. This package is usually available to qualified households from $9.95 per month.

Specific schools have also been designated as sites where parents of children from 0-18 years old can pick up grab-and-go breakfast and lunches every weekday. Breakfast will be served in a pick-up area from 8-9 a.m., and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to noon in the same location.

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