BACK TO SCHOOL

Salt Lake City School District To Begin Returning Elementary Students To Classrooms

Nov 18, 2020, 6:50 AM | Updated: 2:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Elementary students in the Salt Lake City School District are returning to in-person learning this winter.

The district was the only one in the state that has been conducting school completely online. That’s set to change in a few months.

In a meeting that went well past 10 p.m. Tuesday, the board came to the conclusion that certain elementary school-aged students will slowly return to classes beginning Jan. 25, 2021.

Pre-kindergarten – first grades will be the first to return on the 25th. Second and third grades will return to school Feb. 1, followed by fourth – sixth grades on Feb. 8.

Currently, the return to in-person learning is only affecting the elementary schools.

Because the board meeting ended so late Tuesday, some parents still hadn’t heard the news.

Wasatch Elementary School has had its doors closed all year, but it was open Wednesday for picture day. It’s one of the schools scheduled to reopen early in 2021.

Emily Moore has a son in third grade at the elementary school, and the two were there to get the student’s photo taken. When she found out that classes would be back in session, she seemed on the fence.

“He’s definitely been missing in-person school,” she said. “I think we’re interested, but we’ll wait and see, to look and see how the numbers are at that time.”

Another dad said his family wants to wait for a vaccine.

“The best thing is the vaccine,” he said. “O don’t think the kids should go back to school until they get vaccinated.”

Students have been learning online since March.

“In the spring it was really rough,” Moore said. “The beginning of this year was still kind of hard, but it just keeps getting, like, better and better. I think the teachers are doing an amazing job. They just figured out how to do this online school and make it work for everybody.”

After data showed elementary students weren’t impacted as much by COVID-19 in schools, the board decided to let the students begin returning.

Larry Maddden, the SLCSD interim superintendent, said he believes it’s better to have a “default of coming back instead of a default of staying out.”

“Hopefully things will be much better then,” he added.

The board voted 4 – 3 to approve in-person learning.

District officials in January will begin looking into the possibility of returning middle school and high school students as well.

“Hopefully the numbers are going down by then,” Moore said. “If everybody is masking up and following the rules … I’d love for (my son) to be able to get to go back to school.”

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