SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) — Students in the Salt Lake City School District are going back to the classroom soon.
On Tuesday, the Salt Lake City School District announced secondary schools (junior high and high school) students will have the option for in-person courses on Feb. 8th. It previously announced elementary schools are having in-person learning starting January 25th.
This is a first for the school district this school year.
In a 4-hour meeting Tuesday night the decision was made 6-1 to return to in-person courses for secondary schools.
Nate Salazar, the vp of the board of education for the Salt Lake City School District said it was always the plan to return to in-person courses once they got the okay from epidemiologists and the county health department.
“The decision that the board made last night was specific to a choice for parents and students to have the ability and the opportunity to access the risk and make the choice that is best to them,” said Salazar.
Pressures from the state legislature and parents, made the school district feel as if it was time to put students back in the classroom.
After Thursday around 1,150 employees in the district will be vaccinated, but when Feb. 8th rolls around 28% of employees will be inoculated with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I really felt like the opportunity to vaccinate teachers was a game-changer not only for me but for our district and I don’t think we would make a decision we think we couldn’t maintain,” said Salazar.
The Salt Lake City School District has around 3,000 employees.
Salazar said returning students to the classroom is not a task taken lightly by the Salt Lake City School Board.
“When you couple everything that we have available to us and the investments that we made, we are still making data-based decisions and still working forward with an abundance of caution of safety for our teachers and our students,” said Salazar.
On Wednesday S.B. 107, sponsored by State Senator Todd Weiler, became public which says any student in any school district that does not offer in-person classes can move to another school district and their state funding will follow.
Salazar recognized students are falling behind in the district and they learn best and retain information better through in-person instruction.
If there are parents out there concerned about their student’s health, you have the option.
Talk with your school and they will accommodate your request or if S.B. 107 passes you are allowed to leave the school district to go to another district.
“This is about learning this is about getting students caught back up academically and we really really need our students and families to do their part,” said Salazar.