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Alpine, Utah’s largest school district, returns to class

LEHI, Utah — The Alpine School District — the state’s largest — started the 2020-2021 school year on Tuesday with new precautions and procedures in place for the coronavirus.

Alpine School District ready for day one

A state rule requires students to wear masks, and it appeared they all complied. At an open house Monday night at one elementary school, for example, 450 people came. But Assistant to the Superintendent Kimberly Bird said they only had to hand out three masks total to those attending — one for a student, and two for adults.

“That’s how well our students are working and cooperating with us, to maintain these safe learning environments,” Bird said live on Utah’s Morning News on KSL NewsRadio Tuesday morning.

In-person, but ready to adjust

The district says 90% of the roughly 81,000 students opted to attend classes in-person for the new school year. But leaders say they need to be ready to switch to a blended model or online-only model of instruction at any time if required.

Students, teachers and staff have been waiting for the first day for a while.

“We need to get this first day happening and accomplished, so everyone can see we can do this together,” said Bird.

Related content: Alpine School District plans to be back in class half-days

A letter from the superintendents to parents said things will look different in schools, both physically and in the way they now need to do things.

“What will look and feel the same is the love and concern that we have for each of our students,” said the letter.

Supplies distributed to all schools

The district did get the masks and face shields from the state in time for the first day, because Bird said they had some people drive up to Salt Lake City to get them. They received enough for about three per employee.

Bird said they then worked hard to deliver the supplies to all of the district’s 91 schools from Lehi in the north to Orem in the south, and Eagle Mountain on the west to Cedar Hills and Highland on the east side of the Alpine School District.