Group Of Students Pushes Salt Lake City School District To Stay Online

Jan 13, 2021, 8:52 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — With the Salt Lake City School District and its board already delaying a return to in-person learning for junior highs and high schools to an undetermined time beyond early February, a small group of students hoped their voices might help convince the district to keep instruction online even further into the future.

Salt Lake City School District Online, comprised mostly of students from Highland and West high schools, circulated a letter pushing for a return to in-person instruction after the COVID-19 vaccine is more widely available and distributed throughout the community.

“I want to state that I am deeply concerned about going back to school, as well as how this situation has been handled by lawmakers and the school district itself,” stated the letter, which was signed by group member and Highland High School student Malia Hansen. “I value my health and safety, my teacher’s health and safety, my family’s health and safety, and the community’s health and safety.”

The letter called on the board to be more transparent while urging lawmakers not to interfere.

“I ask that you please just wait to reopen until it is genuinely safe, when lives are not on the line,” the letter ended.

Salt Lake City School District is the lone district in Utah not to have some form of in-person instruction so far this school year. Last week, the district elected to wait until teachers were vaccinated before reopening junior highs and high schools despite growing pressure from lawmakers and parents.

“Students in Salt Lake should not be left behind,” Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson said last week. “I am disappointed by the position taken by the Salt Lake City School District Board, who seem ready to accept their students falling significantly behind their counterparts in surrounding districts.”

Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he hoped students could get back to school and teachers could receive a $1,500 stipend extended by the state to educators who have offered in-person learning or a combination of in-person and remote instruction during the pandemic.

It remained unclear when the district might move to in-person instruction.

District spokesperson Yandary Chatwin said the board was next scheduled to meet on Jan. 19 and may discuss in-person options for secondary schools then.

“To go back in person would not only be risking my own life but also my grandmother’s life,” said Hansen, who noted she helped care for her grandmother since she lives alone.

West High School student Taisei Summerhays also spoke of the potential danger of bringing students back to their brick-and-mortar schools.

“If there’s any chance of that sort of becoming a super-spreader event, that will just accelerate and prolong the pandemic we are currently suffering through,” Summerhays said during an interview via Zoom that included a half-dozen SLCSD Online group members Tuesday evening.

West High student Edward Sanderson said his interest in returning to in-person learning hinged on widespread vaccine distribution.

“If that happens really soon, that’s great—I’d love to return to school,” Sanderson said. “If that takes a lot longer like they’re projecting, then I’m just simply not comfortable going until I know that at least most people have had the vaccine to the point that it’s safer to be in groups.”

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.
2 months 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.
3 months 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.
5 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.
5 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.
5 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.
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
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.
Group Of Students Pushes Salt Lake City School District To Stay Online