School Reopening Update 8-5-20

Superintendent Newton’s Weekly School Reopening Update

August 5, 2020

Uinta 4’s Smart Start Reopening Plan was approved by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) on Monday and Uinta County Health officer, Dr. Adams, on Tuesday. This 34-page document is posted on the district website for your review ( under the quick link “School Re-opening 2020”. You can also access the document here:

Following the template provided by the WDE, the plan addresses how safety and wellness, communications, school operations, and instruction and technology will be implemented during the three different possibilities of schooling this year as determined by Uinta County health officials:  Tier I (open), Tier II (hybrid combination of in-person and remote adapted learning) and Tier III (closed). This Smart Start plan will provide a foundation for the many specific building level decisions that we will have to make throughout the year. These building level decisions will be communicated to you by your child’s building principal. Please read through this document and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

If you are considering homeschooling your child this year due to COVID-19 or if your child has documented medical issues that cause you concern, please read the information below regarding Classroom Based Virtual Learning. We think this option will work well for both situations and your child will still remain enrolled in Uinta 4:

Classroom Based Virtual Education allows students to receive the same classroom instruction as students in the classroom through technology (classroom cameras and devices) while remaining outside the physical classroom. Classroom-based virtual education may only be delivered to students who reside in Uinta 4 and have primary enrollment in the school providing the instruction. Students would remain enrolled in Uinta 4 under this model. Uinta 4 will use only teachers employed by our district and these teachers who instruct under this model will be required to complete one, seven hour Wyoming PTSB approved workshop focused on using virtual education methods to instruct students. This option fits perfectly with our summer project of installing EduCamPTZ classroom cameras and enhancing the sound systems in all classrooms in the school district. Specifically, Classroom Based Virtual Education will be very beneficial for a variety of situations. For example, if a student needs to stay home due to underlying health conditions or medical concerns, they will be able to stay enrolled as a student in Uinta 4 and receive their instruction either from a live feed from the classroom or by on-demand viewing of the instruction via a recording posted to Google Classroom. Similarly, the same scenario would apply for a student who is temporarily quarantined at home due to COVID -19.  Students in these two scenarios would be able to move back and forth between virtual education and in-person classroom education, as needed. Also, if a student doesn’t have underlying health conditions or medical concerns but, instead, is just reluctant to attend school due to COVID-19, they could also remain enrolled in Uinta 4 and receive their education through the previously described Classroom Based Virtual Education option. However, their movement between virtual education and in-person classroom education would be much more limited. Google Classroom will be the platform for instructional delivery. Attendance will be tracked twice each day for elementary students and by class period for secondary students. Please contact your child’s building principal if you are interested in this option or if you have any further questions.

As mentioned in last week’s reopening update, both the Uinta County health officials and Governor Gordon’s most recent health orders require that face coverings be worn by students and staff when social distancing of six feet isn't possible. Rest assured, the administrators and teachers in Uinta 4 will do everything possible to reduce the amount of time our students are required to wear these. By rearranging instructional spaces, strategically planning transitions and maximizing the use of all building spaces, we hope to make the wearing of face coverings by staff and students as limited and tolerable as possible. We are even planning on scheduling “face covering breaks” throughout the day, when necessary. Obviously, no one wants to wear face coverings but we will follow the current health orders in hopes of allowing our schools to remain open beyond August 26th. 

Recess: Uinta 4 understands and values the cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits of providing recess to our students. Recess truly complements the rigorous academic demands placed upon our children. Mountain View Elementary will work with Uinta County health officials to develop a plan to provide our students the same amount of recess time as in years past. By utilizing the 17 acres at our K-8 building site, recess can be designed in a way to allow for both appropriate social distancing and vigorous physical activity. 

We have good news regarding the school district’s request that all parents screen their children for COVID-19 symptoms each morning before sending them to school. The school district will be able to provide a web link that works with smart phones and other devices that will allow you to conveniently fill out the screening checklist each morning. More specific information regarding availability and access will be sent out soon by the building principals.

As required by the Wyoming High School Activities Association, Uinta 4 will be submitting our Fall Sports Plans to Uinta County Health officials for approval.

Next week we will be sending a very simple survey to parents via K12 Swift Alert email that will question whether you are planning on sending your child to school on a route bus (face covering required) or dropping and picking up your child in the parent loop. This will allow us to make a final decision on bus loading and unloading zones.