CORONAVIRUS

First Week Of Online Learning In Utah Comes With Challenges

Mar 20, 2020, 8:35 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — Parents and students across Utah reported some bumps and technical glitches this week after school districts statewide made the transition to online learning.

Following the two-week soft closure order issued by Governor Gary Herbert, all districts made the move to online learning to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

There are 86,000 students in the Alpine School District, and every family has a unique situation trying to keep their children educated.

At the LaTessa home in Saratoga Springs, the living room is now the classroom.

“It just doesn’t quite feel like a healthy routine yet,” said mother Kim LaTessa. “It kind of feels like we’re on school break but we’re not.”

LaTessa is now a part-time school teacher for her two children.

“I’m not very much help with my son’s Spanish classes,” she said. “Yeah, I don’t speak any Spanish.”

Foreign language lessons aside, districts statewide have been seeing technical glitches and slow connections adding to the headache of online learning.

In the Alpine School District, almost 12,000 Chromebook laptops were sent home to students.

“With so many people getting online, it’s obviously going to burden the system,” said David Stephenson with the Alpine School District.

Stephenson said a content filtering issue beginning Wednesday seized up schoolwork or kicked some students out of virtual classrooms altogether. He said adjustments have been made things have improved.

“Considering all we’re dealing with and all we’ve been through, we’re happy with where we are at this point,” he said.

Teachers have been taking it in stride and taking every opportunity they can to connect with students.

“It’s been so heartwarming to see how hard the teachers are working and to see all the positive videos and messages out there,” Stephenson said.

However, things are still a little stressful for parents attempting to lead the schoolwork from home.

“I can tell my son is getting really frustrated with me but we are just kind of taking it one day at a time,” LaTessa said.

Homework with her children isn’t her only assignment.

“The school stuff is easier than my real job at the moment,” she said.

In addition to trying to figure out her son’s Spanish homework, she’s also a full-time medical professional.

“At this point, it’s kind of all hands on deck,” she said. “I’m actually on the front-line testing people for COVID-19,” she said.

LaTessa is administering some of the toughest tests of all for a growing number of people in our state.

“If you told me a year ago that this is what I’d be doing I never would have believed you,” she said.

KSL reached out to parents who have homeschooled their children for years. A large number reported that keeping a strict schedule is key and said developing more patience happens over time and it does get easier.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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First Week Of Online Learning In Utah Comes With Challenges