NEWEST UPDATE – 3/24/20

Hello UTVA Families,

What a couple of weeks this has been! I trust this e-mail finds you doing well and hopeful for the future! During this time, I have been astounded by the resilience of our UTVA family; students, learning coaches, and UTVA staff. Thank you for the efforts and sacrifices you make during this period of self-isolation, and for the sacrifices you make supporting your child’s education.

Yesterday, the governor announced they are extending the “soft closure” mandated at public schools until May 1. As a fully virtual school, we are fortunate to not experience any changes in our model. You can expect classes to resume as normal through the remainder of the school year. However, any outings scheduled from now until May 1 are canceled, postponed, or moved to a virtual setting. We just received the unfortunate news today our combined high school prom is also canceled.

Additionally, last week the Utah State Board of Education voted to suspend the requirement for the administration of statewide assessments this year. This means we will NOT administer the formerly mandated state assessments of RISE (Grades 3-8), Utah Aspire Plus (Grades 9-10), and the remaining testing dates for ACT (11th grade). We will be working directly with ACT to make sure that all 11th graders will be able to take the ACT Test on one of the National Test Dates in June. We will not be administering the ACT at one of our testing locations. You may disregard all prior testing assignments received from Testing Nirvana.  We will now rely heavily on our internal assessment measures from iReady and NWEA to identify areas of continuous school improvement in our academic program.

Lastly, on behalf of our UTVA Faculty and Staff, I want to express our dedication to your student’s education. We strive daily to continue to provide high-quality instruction, opportunities to socialize with other students and families, and to meet the individual needs of our students in a virtual environment. During this statewide shift to digital delivery, our school receives daily inquiries from districts and schools around the state seeking guidance on how we run our virtual program. My favorite things to share are the personal stories about how virtual has impacted your family. If you have a minute, I’d love to share more of these stories to share with people throughout our state. If you’d like to share you can submit your story here: http://elevate.press/link

Thank you UTVA families!

Meghan Merideth

Head of School, Utah Virtual Academy

 

UPDATE 3/13/20

Hello UTVA Families,

We want you to know that the safety and education of your students are our primary concerns. The impact of the precautions to protect our families and reduce the spread of the coronavirus is significant.

This afternoon, there was another press conference with the following information:

  • Two-week school dismissal to be replaced by remote instruction, starting Monday, March 16 to continue for two weeks
  • School is expected to continue, despite the closure of buildings to enforce social distancing
  • This is not a license for students to go out and gather with their friends and not continue with their education

In support of these recommendations, we are continuing with the plan I emailed about yesterday. All school activities from Monday, March 16th to Friday, March 27th will be canceled, postponed, or be converted to an online format. We will not be canceling any other events outside of the two-week ban, at this time.

We are so glad that we operate in a virtual setting and can continue instruction with as little disruption as possible.  Schools and districts are providing work for students to continue their learning, but we can continue without interruption.

  • There are no changes to the school day or the school calendar.
  • Classes will be delivered at the same time and days as already scheduled.
  • Attendance in classes is still required.
  • Please communicate with your students’ mentor and teachers should you have any concerns or questions about classes.
  • Please communicate with administrators if we can help with individual circumstances.

We will continue to keep you updated as the situation changes. Stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Meghan Merideth, M.Ed.

Head of School, Utah Virtual Academy

MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL – MEGHAN MERIDETH

Dear UTVA Families,

Earlier today State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sydnee Dickson held a press conference discussing the state’s strategy to address COVID-19 in Utah’s Public Schools. The following recommendations were issued to schools:

The Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force, in coordination with all 14 local health departments to make the following recommendations to schools:

  • Cancellation of all school-related out-of-state travel for the next two weeks.
  • Additional recommendations include:
  • Postpone or cancel mass gatherings, which may include school assemblies, activities, and athletic games and functions.
  • Consider staggering recesses and lunches to reduce the number of children in one place at one time.
  • Consider staggering start times and dismissal times to reduce the number of children in one place at one time.
  • Amplify health and hygiene prevention measures including staying home if you are ill, washing your hands thoroughly and often, and covering your nose or mouth when you sneeze or cough.

As a virtual school, we are grateful we will not be faced with possible school closure. We will continue to deliver education through our digital learning environment as scheduled. However, we have important upcoming face-to-face events including state testing, prom, and graduation. Currently we will only be postponing three ACT dates.

The COVID-19 landscape changes daily and we are monitoring local health departments and Utah State Board of Education recommendations. Changes and updates concerning our face to face events, will be communicated immediately through email, the school app (click HERE for download instructions, UTVA social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our website: http://utahvirtualacademy.org/

The Utah Department of Health has extensive information on their website to address questions from the public. If you have questions regarding the Coronavirus, including how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, you may want to visit the Utah Department of Health website:  https://health.utah.gov/

Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation. We are all very grateful for the opportunity for online education!

Sincerely,

Meghan Merideth, M.Ed.
Head of School at Utah Virtual Academy