SLC School District To Propose In-Person Learning For Secondary Students

Dec 18, 2020, 10:05 PM | Updated: 11:43 pm
The Salt Lake City School Board. (KSL-TV)...
The Salt Lake City School Board. (KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake City School District Interim Superintendent Larry Madden said he intends to make a formal proposal to offer in-person learning for secondary students.

Madden said he will present the proposal to the Board of Education at a Jan. 5 meeting. Under the proposal, secondary students in the district would begin in-person learning on Feb. 8.

Families who want their students to continue learning remotely will be able to do so.

“The Board of Education has always expressed a desire to bring our students back into the classroom as soon as we could safely provide that option,” Madden said. “They’ve been committed to making data-driven decisions and to taking new information about COVID-19 into account as we learn about it. That’s why they voted in November to begin offering an in-person learning option for elementary school students starting the week of Jan. 25: because the latest COVID data showed us it made sense to do so.” 

Madden said the February start date would allow secondary educators to receive both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Coupled with COVID precautions inside our buildings to keep our students safe during in-person learning, the vaccine provides us one more tool to provide a quality education to our students, whether in person or online,” he said.

District officials said they faced additional pressure from the Utah State Legislature and from House Speaker Brad Wilson to offer in-person instruction.

The legislature approved a one-time $1,500 bonus for teachers and $1,000 for support staff on Wednesday. However, the bonus doesn’t include teachers who are solely online.

That means those in the Salt Lake City School District would not qualify for the money unless they return to the classroom earlier next year.

KSL-TV asked Madden how much this had to do with the bonuses, but he said the timeline is following the science.

“I guess the timing could certainly give that appearance, but I’ve tried to follow the science around it,” he said. “I find the most compelling part to be the vaccine.”

Wilson tweeted he was encouraged by discussions with the district and the timeline to return to the classroom.

“If the school board approves this timeline, all teachers and school staff, including those in the @slcschools, will be able to take advantage of the one-time stipend, and what’s even more exciting is that kids will be back in the classroom where they learn best,” he said.

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SLC School District To Propose In-Person Learning For Secondary Students