Educators Rally At Capitol To Call For Safe School Reopenings Guided By Experts

Jul 23, 2020, 12:03 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2020, 3:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Educators from across the state rallied at the Utah State Capitol for districts to comply with CDC guidelines before sending students and teachers back to the classroom.

They said Thursday those measures need to go beyond masks, and they are calling on state leaders to make it happen.

Dozens showed up, masked up, and made their voices heard as they demonstrated outside the Capitol Building and gathered signatures.

“It’s not just about masks,” said teacher and special needs advocate Steve Phelps. “It’s about all the CDC guidelines.”

While they said they appreciate the flexibility given by the Gov. Gary Herbert’s mask mandate in schools, they said it also needs to be more defined.

“We’re not doctors, but we think doctors should be brought to the table,” said teacher and mother Wendy Moss.

Educators said wearing masks is one critical element, but so is socials distancing.

“What we want is additional protection for teachers who have a mask exempt student in their classroom,” said Moss.

“We’re asking the governor to follow the CDC guidelines and the Department of Health guidelines and enforce social distancing as a mandate – just like he has masks,” said Phelps.

Part of that concern is not only for the teachers, but for students who may need extra strict guidelines in order to be safe.

“Students with special needs are by far more likely to have underlying health issues that are going to cause major concern with COVID if they get exposed,” said Phelps.

Another concern is parents who take a political stand and don’t allow their kids to wear masks.

“I would call on school districts to require some sort of medical documentation to actually receive mask exemption,” said Phelps.

Overall, they said they just want protection for all.

“What we really want is for the governor to appoint experts, infectious disease experts, people who have studied the spread of COVID-19, to approve these plans, to say, ‘Yes, this is safe, this will mitigate the spread,’ or, ‘No, this isn’t,’” said Moss.

Another issue educators noted is schools have windows that can’t open due to school shooter safety measures. So teachers want HVAC systems that are CDC compliant and won’t recycle air.

The educators said they want Herbert to lead the districts on what to do and to bring in the health department to make sure both students and teachers are safe.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Back to School

remote learning after snow storm...
Katija Stjepovic, KSL TV

Canyons School District quickly switched to remote learning after Friday’s snowstorm

Friday’s early morning storm impacted multiple school districts across the Wasatch Front. Several districts adjusted start times and some even canceled classes.
2 months ago
This week KSL+ looks at what school districts describe as “chronic absenteeism” in Utah’s sch...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The Impact of pandemic and “chronic absenteeism” in Utah schools

Months into the new school year, the pandemic’s impact on students is coming into focus.
3 months ago
A school classroom with chairs and desks...
Brooke Williams

Project to provide air purifiers in Utah K-12 classrooms

Cleaner air improves student performance, decreases COVID transmission and school absenteeism. New project provides air purifiers for classrooms in Utah.
5 months ago
Deanie Wimmer

Chronic Absenteeism leads to rise in F grades in most of Utah’s largest school districts

Schools all over Utah are dealing with the problem of chronic absenteeism. Educators are seeing thousands of absences, and as a result, failing grades.
5 months ago
Box Elder High School (KSL TV)...
Eliza Pace

In excessive heat, some districts without A/C move to half days to spare students

With record-breaking, three-digit temperatures and older schools without air conditioning, two districts and one additional high school have announced changes to a half-day schedule to accommodate students.
5 months ago
Shara Park

Taylorsville High Wellness Center sees more students in need of basic items

Taylorsville High created a wellness center to give kids a break, however over the course of the year staff saw an increasing need for basic supplies like food, clothing, and hygiene products.
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Educators Rally At Capitol To Call For Safe School Reopenings Guided By Experts