CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Remembering A Pandemic-Altered School Year

Dec 28, 2020, 10:26 PM | Updated: 11:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Few things affected Utah families more during the past year than changes in our schools. There were lessons for all of us.

The announcement from Gov. Gary Herbert clear back in March would set off a year of constant change. It has been tough, but not always negative.

“Schools are going to close for a few weeks,” Herbert announced on March 17.

That sent many families and schools into a tailspin. In a moment, life as we knew it changed.

“I just want to see my friends,” eighth-grader Matisse Hasler said through tears. “It’s just so hard.”

Classes weren’t the only thing canceled. The Utah High School Activities Association canceled spring sports and schools canceled activities.

We never dreamed it would extend to graduation, but it did. Schools were determined to do something to honor their seniors. Some ceremonies were solo walkthroughs and others drive-through. “It’s a little bit different but I’m happy I was still able to walk and got to have some sort of graduation,” said one high school graduate.

As schools scrambled to prepare for fall, students got new marching orders. “We’ve literally take every rule and every protocol and rewritten it to keep students and our staff members safe,” said one assistant principal.

Masks were required, schools put up plexiglass barriers for desks and students maintained social distancing. Sometimes schools were forced into hybrid learning with online classes and contact tracing.

Students adapted to schools opening and closing based on the number of positive cases reported.

All the while, teacher frustration over health concerns and workload reached a boiling point. A reporter asked a teacher, “After hearing all of this, a lot of people would ask you, why do you do this?”

“That’s a really good question. It’s for the kids. It’s for my students,” the teacher cried.

The state would recognize their efforts by offering all in-person teachers a $1,500 bonus and bumping them up near the front of the line for COVID-19 vaccinations.

By next year, all schools, even those in Salt Lake City, will offer some form of in-person learning. New protocols will mean fewer quarantines.

With vaccines, there is a hope to return to “normal.” But with all we’ve learned through the pandemic, in some ways, schools will never go back.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
6 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
6 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
10 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
19 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
30 days ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Remembering A Pandemic-Altered School Year