The state’s largest and growing district has kicked off the new school year for thousands of children in Utah County.
Teachers, staff and administrators at Alpine School District welcomed back 84,000 students Tuesday, navigating ways to reconnect them with each other and their education amid a shortage of staff, including bus drivers. Mountain Ridge Jr. High in Highland is one of 90 schools in the district accepting students back into the classroom.
Masks were optional for students and staff at the school and there were several online learning options available to families. However, most students returned for in-person instruction. District officials were working closely with the Utah County Health Department to keep staff and students safe by keeping track of COVID-19 cases.
According to the district COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday, there were zero active cases starting off the new year.
The district's new superintendent, Dr. Shane Farnsworth, said they’d hoped the coronavirus pandemic would be over by the new school year, but it’s still here and they’re adjusting.
“We are excited to be back face-to-face. We intend to stay face-to-face as much as possible,” Dr. Farnsworth said. “Our goal is a safe and engaging learning environment for every student, every day, in the Alpine School District."
To keep up with the growth, Alpine built three new schools: one junior high and two elementary schools. Kindergartener students start the new school year Tuesday, Aug. 24. All other grades started on Tuesday.