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Parents hold sit-in at Davis School District, call for in-person classes

FARMINGTON – It’s the first day of class for kids in the Davis School District (Davis), or, at least it is for some kids.  That’s because Davis has decided that students in that district will only go to class two days out of the week. For now.

That’s why a group of unhappy parents hosted a sit-in at the Davis School District headquarters on Tuesday. They were protesting the way the district has decided to resume classes, with some parents saying the district couldn’t have picked a worse way to kick off the school year.

How the Davis plan works

Children have been divided according to their last names, with students with last names beginning with A-K going to class on Monday and Wednesday. Kids with the last name that begins with L-Z will attend on Tuesday and Thursday.

Students in junior high and high school in the Davis district will continue to alternate “A Day” and “B Day” schedules.

It’s not good enough

This model just isn’t good enough for sit-in organizer Corinne Johnson.  A few dozen members of her Facebook group sat on the district front lawn, calling for more in-person classes.

(A group of parents holding their sit-in in front of the Davis School District Office. Credit: Paul Nelson)

“Other school districts are doing five days a week and recognizing that our kids need that, and they’re dealing with all the requirements of the state,” Johnson said.

“All of their [other districts’] plans for four and five days a week were also approved by the Utah State Board of Education.”

Johnson believes if educators agree that in-person, five-day-a-week school is the ultimate goal, and if the state has approved this plan for other districts, then it should have been an option for parents and students in the Davis School District, also. 

Is the “two days a week” plan dangerous?

She also has doubts that educators will be able to give special needs students all the hours they’re required to provide under the current plan.

Johnson cites researchers from Harvard who say the hybrid method may be the most dangerous way to reopen schools because kids may be more inclined to hang out with friends or spend the day with others on their off days.

“A hybrid model actually has the most community spread of any model,” Johnson says.

Davis district responds

However, District Spokesperson Shauna Lund says if the Davis district wants to maintain social distancing as they’ve been instructed to, they really had no choice but to go forward with the hybrid model. 

“[We need to be] able to keep students and teachers six feet apart in the classroom, out on the playground and at lunch,” Lund said.  “With all of our students in a school, that was not possible.”

This plan has only been scheduled for the first four weeks of the school year.  Lund says they’ll keep a close watch over COVID-19 infection rates before they make any decision of changing their classes.

“At the end of four weeks, if what we’re looking at are good numbers, then there is the possibility it could switch to a normal schedule,” she says.