Superintendent Dickson Sits Down With KSL To Discuss Back-To-School Concerns

Aug 7, 2020, 10:51 AM | Updated: 10:54 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson, along with Gov. Gary Herbert, announced in March that schools would be temporarily closing, she didn’t think the pandemic problems would continue into the fall semester.

Now, as many schools across the state prepare for students to return, there have been some concerns.

KSL news specialist Deanie Wimmer sat down one-on-one with  Dickson to address some of those concerns.

“I imagined that four a couple of months, we would work on this virus, we could mitigate it by our behavior, and then as we made plans to go back to school, we would be more cautious,” she said.

While the Utah Board of Education has dedicated many months and millions of dollars to reopening schools safely, Dickson said the state’s educators need more.

“Now each individual school is different,” she said. “Everybody has (CARE Act) money, and they’ve all spent it according to their needs. But it’s not enough.”

What else are Utah educators in need of?

“There’s this heavy load on our school system, and teachers are right there in the classroom on the front line,” Dickson said. “They may not have everything they need or feel that they need, but what they need more than anything is our community support and our collective support.”

Dickson emphasized that students’ safety is important, but so is the safety of teachers. The board of education will ensure educators will have face masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment.

She also addressed the months of distance learning, which have given way to difficult debates as well as teacher and parent protests over how to re-open. With all the local health departments as well as families, educators, and a variety of other voices, Dickson said not everyone feels like their voices have been heard.

Not every district or school is approaching re-opening in the same way, and this has left some parents wondering why there isn’t equal treatment, or at least equal choice, across the state.


Context matters in this situation, she said, and different variables can affect the way classes are conducted.

“When you go to a hybrid model, you have to take into account: What happens for a family where both parents work? How does childcare come into play? How does broadband come into play?”

Dickson said that students learning away from classrooms has created some toxic stress, so educators will be putting extra emphasis on relationships and social and emotional learning. But it could will look different as learning continues through the pandemic.

“There are things that we have just got to do differently,” she said. “And it’s going to maybe feel very sterile, both in terms of the cleanliness – which is a good thing – but also thinking about that social interaction is going to feel a bit different.

Ultimately, getting back to school is not just on the shoulders of principals and teachers, she said. It has to be a community effort.

“We have to do our part,” Dickson said. “Wear masks, social distance and use proper hygiene. And if we could all do those things as citizens of Utah, we could really make a big difference in the safety of our students and teachers getting back to school.”

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.
4 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.
5 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.
7 months ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
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.
7 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.
7 months ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
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.
7 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
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.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
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.
Superintendent Dickson Sits Down With KSL To Discuss Back-To-School Concerns