Checking In: 5 Families In 5 Districts Share Educational Journey With KSL

Nov 24, 2020, 11:07 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – KSL is following five families in five school districts who made different learning choices throughout this unprecedented school year.

Back in August, we introduced you to the Williams Family from Salt Lake City, the ‘Iongi Family from West Valley City, the Nagel Family from Park City, the Johnson Family from Herriman and the Pursglove Family from Sandy.

Now in the second quarter, we checked back in to find all of them have faced different challenges during the COVID-19 surge, which reflects the struggles faced by many Utah families.

“Unfortunately, our family was infected with the COVID,” said mom Luisa ‘Iongi.

All seven members of the family got the virus, though ‘Iongi said they didn’t pick it up from school.

It was when they let down their guard – and masks – on fall break.

“Going to the bowling alley, hanging with their cousins, going to McDonald’s,” ‘Iongi said.

Despite the quarantine, the ‘Iongis expressed the most happiness with their school situation: all in-person in Granite School District.

“In-person school has been great,” ‘Iongi said. “The kids have absolutely loved it.”

By contrast, thee Williams family won’t last the year on remote learning in the Salt Lake City School District.

“I want them to be in a different learning situation by January, for sure,” said mom Raina Williams.

Both parents work full time, and their five kids can’t fend for themselves.

The Williams hired a retired teacher as a private tutor for one daughter, and they hired a nanny to oversee homework and Zoom sessions for two of their boys.

“We made several adjustments, and that has definitely helped,” Williams said. “But it has taken a hit to the pocketbook.”

The family’s $1,500 per month bill is unsustainable, so they said they’d be looking at open enrollment in another district for the second half of the school year.

After we caught up with the Williams, the Salt Lake City School Board voted to begin returning students to the classrooms in phases beginning in January. The family said they’re “thrilled.”

Student Morgan Pursglove tried to go back to in-person learning in the Canyons School District. On the first class of the first day, though, she had a panic attack.

“I got totally sick going there,” she said.

Underlying health conditions have kept her home not only from school, but from other activities as well.

“Morgan is invited to parties Thursday nights, Friday nights, Saturday nights … sleepovers,” mom Stephanie Pursglove said. “She’s invited to so much.”

“It surprises me how many things are going on in the middle of a pandemic,” Morgan Pursglove added.

What’s concerning Stephanie Pursglove is what isn’t going on during the pandemic. She said there aren’t enough electives or live streaming options for at-home learners, and that hurts her daughter’s education and ability to get enough credits for graduation.

“I really don’t feel there was a plan for online,” she said. “I think these kids are being set up for a little bit of failure.”

That’s why Emily Johnson’s daughter, who is in the Jordan School District, is returning to the classroom.

The family originally chose distance learning to protect teachers, but they found the experience for their children was not equal.

Their youngest boy will continue school at home with a dedicated online teacher.

“The whole class is doing well, and he loves school,” Johnson said. “He won’t even consider going back right now.”

Finally, the Nagel family was pleasantly surprised about in-person school in the Park City School District from a health standpoint.

“I think clean hands and masks are doing the trick, for the most part,” said dad Matthew Nagel, who is also a teacher in the Park City district.

Masks didn’t turn out to be a big deal for sixth grader Henry Nagel.

“Masks don’t really bother me,” he said. “Everybody I see is wearing masks, so it’s all good.”

Academically, the response is more subdued, and it likely sums up the experience of most families.

“I wouldn’t say it’s going smoothly,” Matthew Nagel said. “I’m willing to say it’s going as well as it can.”

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.
1 day 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.
1 month 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.
3 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.
3 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.
3 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.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Checking In: 5 Families In 5 Districts Share Educational Journey With KSL