The Latest Information Regarding School Dismissal through May 1.

March 24, 2020

Dear USDB parents and staff;

Welcome back to week two of home learning heaven! At home, my teenagers actually call it “Coronacation.” They think they are very clever. As you know, this is not a vacation from learning, and we are grateful for that.

As we are hearing from our colleagues around the state and around the country, it has become clear to us that the families and staff at USDB are having tremendous success in maintaining meaningful student learning wherever possible. We are very thankful for the cooperation and patience of our families, and we are especially proud of our excellent professional educators who have put their creative minds into super drive as they meet the individual needs of each child. Although this is a difficult time for everybody, it is also very exciting for us as we celebrate the success we see each day.

The first report I received this morning was from our Utah School for the Blind campus division who reported that they had a large zoom meeting with almost 50 educators and Related Services. Ryan Greene, the director of that division, told me he was prepared to develop a long list of emergency items that would require support and answers from the superintendent. As they progressed through the meeting, he realized one by one, that our amazing educators had already figured out solutions and were masterfully handling each challenge as it would come up. At the end of the meeting, he realized there was nothing they needed our help with. This is just one example of how fortunate we are to have the kind of professionals we do at USDB.

Likewise, our Utah School for the Deaf is having unprecedented success as well. Many other deaf schools from around the country have been calling us this week and asking for help and assistance because of our reputation for innovation and personalized learning. We find ourselves in a position now helping train others in their states so they can deliver the first rate education like we have here in Utah. And, of course, we are more than willing to help. Anytime we can lend assistance to our colleagues elsewhere, it benefits the children. And that is really why we are here.

You probably heard the announcement yesterday from the state superintendent of public instruction and from the governor that the school dismissal has been extended through the end of April. Of course, nothing is certain, but we are hopeful that we can start traditional school activities again on May 1. Only time will tell. Because we now have a longer timeline, it is important for us to continue to support each other and look forward with a heart full of confidence and friendly support as we all do our best to put the children first.

Of course, we hope each of you stays healthy throughout this challenging time. All USDB staff members are authorized to work from home with the permission of their supervisor if their work can be accomplished effectively there. I have asked our more senior employees to stay home completely, and others are selflessly covering for them in their work duties if they cannot perform them from home. Our campuses also remain open to our other employees, in case they would like to work from the school building or for other necessary reasons, but it’s rather sparse these days. I believe we have been faithfully compliant with the recommendations to physically distance ourselves from each other. One thing I have enjoyed is watching different teams, families, and staff members using video conferencing tools to stay in touch in the most personable ways possible. Email, texting, and phone calls are good and necessary, but a video chat is a very nice, personal way to connect whenever it is convenient.

As a superintendency, we hope you are doing well, and we hope you understand how committed we are to supporting you and your children. We think of you often, we understand the burden is a bit heavier at this time, and we are committed to helping in any way we can.

Warmly,

Superintendent Coleman

Joel Coleman | Superintendent of Schools, USDB 
742 Harrison Blvd. | Ogden, UT 84404
Direct (801) 629-4710 | Mobile (801) 634-6251 | joelc@usdb.org

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