Parents Lead Sit-In Protest Demanding More In-Class Learning

Aug 25, 2020, 10:43 PM

WEST BOUNTIFUL, Utah – Parents in Davis County staged a sit-in protest Tuesday to push for in-class learning, five days a week.

About half of the kids in Davis County had their first day back to school Tuesday. As some parents pushed for a five-day option, they all saw the hybrid plan in action.

West Bountiful Elementary has a brand new building, but it’s the class sizes that stood out. In Catherine Kelly’s sixth-grade class, just over a dozen students are allowed at a time, and she believes the class size is going to allow in-person learning to continue.

Students at West Bountiful Elementary on the first day of the Davis School District’s hybrid plan.

“Teachers love to teach and we love kids. Knowing that the kids are coming to school, they feel safe, they feel welcome, they feel comfortable and their parents can rely on that too,” Kelly said.

However, not every parent agreed it’s what’s best for students.

“There is so much socialization that goes on when these kids are younger,” said parent Emilie Daly.

She said students learn better from their teachers and in-person. That’s why this group was pushing for the five-day option.

Davis County parent Emilie Daly.

Half of the district had their first day Tuesday and Daly said her children, who go back Wednesday, should have been there Tuesday too.

“There are some students who are learning, who have gone back to school. I’ve seen posts of first-day pictures, and this is my kids’ first day,” she said.

Parent Ben Mahoney saw things differently. “The end result for all of us, I think, is that we want to go back to school five days a week,” he said. “I just don’t want to put our educators at risk.”

Davis County parent Ben Mahoney.

He was concerned if classes double their size and go back to five days a week too soon, outbreaks could happen.

“At a minimum, they have to quarantine, and then it puts us right back to where we were back in the spring, where school is shut down,” he said.

Either way, these parents said they are not giving up on pushing for a five-day option. 

Among the social distancing, masks and disinfecting, Kelly said the numbers are important in keeping everyone safe.

“We’re here, frontline, just like healthcare workers or anyone else,” she said. “The teachers are part of the frontline now to make sure that our kids are getting what they need.”

Catherine Kelly, sixth-grade teacher at West Bountiful Elementary.

The sit-in parents said they were not trying to do away with the hybrid plan. Instead, they were asking for a third option so parents can choose.

The Davis School District has said getting kids into classes five days a week is part of their plan this school year. Just not right now.

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Parents Lead Sit-In Protest Demanding More In-Class Learning