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Salt Lake City Parents Want Children Back In School

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Parents in the Salt lake City School District say they feel helpless and ignored by district leaders.

The district held a school board meeting Tuesday evening, but they did not come to a decision on whether or not to reopen schools for secondary students.

One parent’s concerns are focused on the mental health of his children.

The Powell family’s home has been transformed into an office for both parents – and a school for the three children who are distance learning.

“If I had a time machine and could go back to July, I would have moved my kids out of the district,” dad Kody Powell said.

He said he wants his children to go back to in-person learning because they feel it is the best form of education for them.

Powell juggles working from home and helping his three children do distance learning.

“My wife changed her career plans so she could be home with the kids,” he said. “I changed my work schedule so I could be home with the kids.”

He and his wife consider themselves lucky to have the space for their children to learn remotely while they switch off working from home. However, Powell said he has seen the lack of physical learning take a toll on the children’s mental health.

When conversations with school board members became unproductive, Powell joined other parents in a lawsuit against the school district.

“I tried diplomacy for months,” he said. “Our students are being denied fundamental rights to have the best education they can have. Like, they are three miles away from here.”

Data collected by other Utah districts shows the transmission rate of spreading COVID-19 in schools is relatively low. That’s why Powell said he hopes the school district will vote to send all students back to the classroom.

“I have gained a new, a profound, respect for teachers and what they do,” he said. “Really grateful for them. But the situation of learning online is just not ideal.”

It is the secondary schools that have seen the record number of failing grades with distance learning. Parents in other districts have the options to do in-person learning or keep learning online.

Salt Lake City parents have said they want to have that option, too.

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