Letters: School District is committed to educating students during the pandemic
Schools will find a new normal
This summer has been anything but normal. We know that teachers want to get back into their classrooms and design curriculum. We know that students want to be back in school — with their teachers, their school staff and with their friends.
Here is what we know:
• We, the Park City School District and the Park City Education Association, are committed to providing equitable learning for all students. We anticipate that it will include in-person, online, and flexible teaching and learning assignments based on enrollments and health conditions in our community.
• Teachers will be welcomed back to their school communities the week of Aug. 10.
• The 2020-21 school year will be different.
• District leadership is empowering educators to deliver curriculum in the most efficient and effective way possible — online, in-person, or a mix in ways that will engage students and keep schools healthy, with designated areas for teaching and learning throughout the buildings.
• We need all stakeholders to share ideas and be flexible as schedules change.
• 2020-21 will not be binary; it is not either/or.
• The response to the virus is organic; it changes daily, sometimes hourly.
• Together, as a Park City School District community, we will ensure that learning continues in the safest manner possible.
• Park City School District teachers are creative, intelligent and motivated. Together, we can propel learning into the “new normal.”
• The pathway forward is ingenuity, creativity and a safety first/readiness mindset.
Like Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote in “Frankenstein,” “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” We had a great and sudden change. It is up to us to respond in a way that changes our profession and our teaching for the better. There is a silver lining.
Please know that we understand how painful this great and sudden change has been for you, for your families and for our community. Give us time to incorporate your ideas, your questions, your suggestions and your concerns into the 20-21 school year.
For us to reopen safely, we need community and state support. We need everyone to wear a mask. We need everyone to self monitor and report. We need to continue to practice distancing. Then, we can all move into the new normal.
For the next few weeks, enjoy the dog days of summer. Know that we are working together.
Dr. Jill Gildea, superintendent; Julie Hooker and Amanda Lawing, Park City Education Association co-presidents; Dr. Amy Hunt, Park City School District chief academic officer
Wed don’t need another massive development
It is with grave concern that I write this message to your readers. I am sorry the Tech Center failed. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I am sorry to see that someone invested in the property with the plan of changing the area to a massive development of another sort.
We do need low-cost housing in Park City, but such a large number of homes to choke our schools, our streets and highways, and daily lives is simply not acceptable. If ever there were an emergency such as a fire or earthquake, getting out of this town will already be next to impossible. Adding more congestion at the Junction would be like trying to put a cork in a volcano.
A hotel with 130 beds … really? There have been better locations suggested and refused permission in this county. As this is at the Junction, this would lead to a heavy impact on S.R. 224. Or will the hotel provide some sort of gondola to transport visitors into the resorts and town? Traffic already backs up coming into this area on both of the entrances to Park City.
And might I add that business for all the current shops, restaurants, etc., will be choked up for years while the development goes on. It has taken three years to complete a traffic circle at Jeremy Ranch … what will happen with this huge project going on and on?
I am quite opposed to this plan by Dakota Pacific. They say it is cost effective. I say no it is not. The city/county will need more schools, more police, more fire and more water. Which brings up another issue — this area is begging people to cut back their water use. So we add hotels and homes so there are a thousand or more wanting and needing water? This seems utterly ridiculous to me.
Consider me a very concerned citizen.
Inequity of leisure
During my summer semester at the University of Utah, I was enrolled in a course that addresses human diversity and leisure behavior studies. Being from Park City, I understand the vast amount of natural resources that enable our community to engage in leisure activities. One population that is so crucial to our community and that is susceptible to experiencing inequities in terms of leisure-based activities would be our Latino citizens. It is critical that those shortcomings are addressed.
During my tenure as a mountain biking instructor at Basin Recreation, I noticed the absence of Latinos and other races, cultures and ethnicities from the program. Part of the course requirement was to analyze a potential population that has inadequate access to leisure activities and create a plan to address the issues. It is imperative and in light of recent actions in our society surrounding discrimination and prejudice that all races, ethnicities and cultures are represented in our community. Not only represented but provided adequate opportunities to resources that will enable the population to experience leisure-based activities.
There are a plethora of ways to address this inequity of leisure. However, I believe there are a few things to get the population involved. The Christian Center of Park City has a thrift store that provides access to affordable equipment that the population can utilize. Since it is a nonprofit and donation based, I believe that if a public announcement was made to the community about donating old mountain biking equipment, the Latino population will be more inclined to acquire the materials needed to participate. Another idea would be for recreation organizations to offer free, basic introduction mountain biking courses to encourage the population to engage.
Congress can do better
All of us have been affected by the pandemic, but like in every recession, low-income workers have been especially hard-hit by the record-breaking underemployment brought on by this virus. The Senate has finally released details of the HEALS Act, their proposal for another round of stimulus spending. And while it includes doubling of the tax credit for business lunches, it’s missing a lot that could help our fellow Americans. What’s missing? More food assistance for people most at risk of going hungry and increased tax credits for working families who have had their work hours reduced. These changes could help millions of Americans stay fed and in their homes during this horrible crisis.
Congress can do better. We can do better. Call Sens. Lee and Romney and tell them to increase funding for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
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F. Joseph Feely III writes in a guest editorial that he is concerned about the “likely impact of the extreme policy positions” Democrats will pursue if they win control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.