Wasatch School District Opens its Doors

Young student caucasian girl looking at camera and wear protective face mask before school day. Ready for new school year with pandemic restrictions. School reopen. Return back to school. Copy space.

Wasatch School District welcomed students back to school on August 17, 2020. The district opened on its original start date, a feat which was unattainable for many other districts across the country. Even in Utah, only four districts plan to be open by the 17th. Several have planned openings later this week. And many others will begin even later.

Some states are still keeping schools closed. In fact, 8 states, plus the District of Columbia, do not have in-person instruction at all right now. Some are planning for delayed openings, while others are requiring hybrid or remote-only instruction. A majority of states have handed the reopening decision over to the individual school districts.

In a video message sent to district patrons, Wasatch Superintendent Paul Sweat said, “It is now time to get back to school and to help our students with the learning process that they deserve. . . . We’re excited to start the year. We’re going to work very hard to keep our schools open and functioning.”

Wasatch School District offered four options to parents, including full-time school, a hybrid day, an online academy, and homeschool. Wasatch also plans additional cleaning and hygiene procedures at school. Utah Governor Herbert later added a state mandate that masks would be required for all students and faculty in the school buildings.

Garrick Peterson, Wasatch Director of Academics, added that keeping schools open will be a community effort. The district has three goals for the 2020-2021 school year. The first goal is that no teachers will contract the Covid virus while at work. Secondly, all classrooms and schools will remain open. And lastly, all students will show mastery on all essential standards for each grade level or course.

“We know that there are some risks that we are taking, but we feel like the benefit far outweighs those risks,” said Superintendent Sweat. He emphasized that the district feels a great responsibility for the students. “We will do everything we can to help protect them and, most importantly, educate them,” he said.

For more information on reopening plans, click here: https://www.wasatch.edu/domain/2283

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.