Jackson Hole High School

Jackson Hole High School

Jackson Hole public schools will remain on the hybrid schedule when students return from winter break Jan. 4.

Though the Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees has considered changes to its schedule throughout the year, it did not at its December meeting, meaning no changes.

The district has explicitly said any big changes would need board approval. Until then, no news means a continuation of the status quo.

“When the time comes that we are able to change those student schedules, we will certainly clearly communicate to families and the community that that’s happening,” district Communications Director Charlotte Reynolds said.

Each month, parents have sent the school board missives asking the district to return to a normal, full-time schedule. However, COVID-19 precautions in place would fall apart with more days in the classroom, at least at the middle and high school levels.

Elementary schools are already at a 4-day schedule, with students learning in small groups called pods, and could add Fridays to in-person schedules. Educators have repeatedly said they would need more support to do that, because Fridays are their only day to plan.

Middle and high schools are on an A/B schedule, with students separated into two groups. Going back to five days per week in person would effectively nullify that arrangement.

The district hasn’t sent any measures that would indicate when it is appropriate to return to full-time instruction. Data from around the world show that in-school transmission remains low, though some schools have seen outbreaks, and some communities have experienced spikes after students returned to schools.

In Teton County, schools and school activities have yet to see widespread transmission, but principals and classroom teachers have told the school board they believe that is due to the precautions they have in place.

Whatever happens, the district says there will be no question when it decides to return to the classroom full time.

School administrators are asking each student to “keep your social interactions to a minimum” during the winter break, Superintendent Gillian Chapman wrote in an email to parents, and “strongly encourage all students to take a COVID test prior to returning to school on January 4th.”

Tests can be ordered for free from VaultHealth.com/covid.

The school board is hosting a listening tour via Zoom for parents. Principals will send meeting login information shortly before each scheduled session.

The schedule is as follows: On Jan. 6, Jackson Elementary at 5:30 p.m., Summit Innovations School at 6 and Jackson Hole High School at 6:30; Jan. 7, Munger Mountain Elementary at 5:30 p.m., Colter at 6 and Jackson Hole Middle School at 6:30; and, also on Jan. 7, a Spanish-language session at 7 p.m.

Sessions for Moran, Kelly, Wilson and Alta were held in mid-December. Those who miss their slot can email comments to schoolboard@tcsd.org.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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