Eagle County Schools survey finds 55% favor return to five-day week next school year
District shares preliminary survey results because of high community interest
Asked what they want to see happen with Wednesdays next school year, a majority of parents, staff and students in Eagle County Schools appear to favor a return to five days of in-person learning, according to the preliminary results of an email survey the district sent out March 1.
Wednesdays have been a day of remote learning for students this school year to provide teachers with one full day a week for lesson planning, meetings and training. That was a key part in allowing Eagle County Schools to reopen its buildings and provide modified in-person instruction for students.
Some teachers, staff and parents have advocated for keeping the remote-learning Wednesdays in place next school year.
The district sent the survey to 12,459 staff, parents and students in grades 4-12, asking what should happen with Wednesdays and outlining several options. Over five days it saw 3,180 responses — a 25.5% response rate.
Among people who responded to the email survey, 55% preferred a return to the five-day school schedule of previous years with a late start for classes on Wednesdays to provide time for teacher planning and training.
Thirty-four percent of survey respondents supported keeping Wednesdays as a day of remote learning for students to provide a full day of planning for teachers next school year. Only 11% supported moving to a shortened four-day school week, which would have resulted in school days that are 45 minutes longer and extended the school year by two weeks.
Eagle County Schools said it was receiving advocacy for all three schedule options and decided to move forward with the survey for broad input on the issue to ensure it was not missing support for one option over another.
More detailed survey results will be released next week, according to Eagle County Schools, and the preliminary survey results will be shared at Wednesday’s school board meeting.
“It’s important for the district to be able to seek input from its stakeholders and be able to count on them not to jump to conclusions,” Superintendent Phil Qualman said in a news release announcing the preliminary survey results on Tuesday. “We understood that seeking this particular input might cause undue concern among parents and decided to release the preliminary results now to help put everyone at ease.”
“These are the results we expected, but as families adapted to technology and the day of remote learning, it was possible that other schedules might be preferred, and we didn’t want to simply make assumptions,” Qualman said.
Following the finalization of the survey results, the school district will release an official statement about returning to its regular, previously-approved five-day school schedule, pending no unexpected changes to improving pandemic conditions in Eagle County.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.