Gunnison Valley schools give positive
report on school reopening
By Lloyd Call
GUNNISON—Gunnison Valley principals informed the South Sanpete School District board last Wednesday of their progress with schools opening under COVID guidelines, and the report was very positive.
Gunnison Valley High School Principal Gene King said the school’s main goals this year are to be “predictably consistent” and hold teachers accountable. Co-op classes are during the fifth period, and they are for students to work on areas where they want to improve, or if they have less than a “C” average in a subject.
“We have weekly evaluations between parents, students and teachers to address areas where students are struggling. All three sign and review the evaluations,” King said.
King also said there were 26 students taking “hybrid” classes and online learning, rather than come to school.
He described how the first football game went, by preselling tickets, and having those who attended scan QR codes, then stamping their hands for assigned seating. COVID-19 social distancing was maintained, and everything went very smoothly, he said. It was a bonus that Gunnison won their homecoming game!
Gunnison Valley Middle School Principal Jeff Bartholomew is focusing on reinforcing positive behavior this year. “We just want kids to be nice to each other,” Bartholomew said. Another school goal is teaching to desired (higher) levels. For example, students should shoot for a higher level of understanding of a subject. “For example, instead of just being able to identify a topic, we want students to be able to analyze the topic,” Bartholomew said.
The school is also focusing on learning rather than just testing. As far as COVID-19 is concerned, students and faculty are wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. “Our students really want to be in school. We only have 10 students who have opted for online teaching,” Bartholomew said.
George Henrie, principal at the Central Utah Correction Facility, reported that inmate learning is hampered by correction restrictions. “Our inmates may only be able to attend classes one day a week,” he said. His goals include closer alignment of curriculum with state standards.
Gunnison Valley Elementary School Principal Arleen Jensen said her students are handling COVID-19 requirements better than we expected. “We do allow students a little more freedom when we turn them loose at recess, but that will be harder as weather gets colder,” Jensen said.
“We don’t know how to follow all the rules,” she said. “We just do the best we can, especially with the younger children.” She also said teachers are coordinating with parents using Zoom meetings or with phone calls.
She also mentioned there is a problem with connectivity through the Internet at the school, and teachers’ cell phones don’t get reception. The district is trying to figure out and repair the problem.
Major construction projects recently completed at the district included a major rebuilding of the Gunnison Valley High School home rec room, and the Manti High School choir room.
The board also got to see the early enrollment figures for all the schools (see chart). Overall, enrollment is down 92 students from last year, from 3,214 in 2019 to 3,128 in 2020. Final enrollment figures will be released in October. Most of the largest drops are in the elementary schools.
The board learned the United States Department of Agriculture is providing free school lunch for ALL students beginning Monday, Sept. 14 through Dec. 31, 2020, or until the allocated funds expire. It is possible, but not guaranteed that the timeline could be extended beyond this date.