SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – More than a year and half after COVID-19 hit the State of Utah and forced schools to move remotely online, administrators are still faced with tough decisions on how to balance safety, curriculum, mental health, and more. Teachers, staff, and faculty relied heavily on technology to keep students going during the pandemic. But with many districts resuming in-person learning this school year without a vaccine readily available for children under the age of 12, they are still gauging their plans to get everything back on track one day at a time.

That’s why ABC4 News launched the SLC Classroom Chronicles back in August, a franchise to follow two elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District over the next school year as they navigate this “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic. ABC4’s Investigative Reporter Jason Nguyen joined Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. to discuss the new series. He shared where the idea for the SLC Classroom Chronicles came from, who he will feature in the series, what he’s learned and seen so far in his coverage, how he was able to get the Salt Lake City School District on-board with the project, and what the goal of the series is.

Tracy Sjostrom, principal of Mary W. Jackson Elementary and JaNeal Rodriguez, principal of Liberty Elementary — both of whom were featured in the series — talked about their initial thoughts when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Utah in Spring 2020, what some of the hardest parts were about navigating the pandemic, how they’re handling teacher morale and mental health, how their schools are supporting students during the pandemic, their strategies to help get students back to where they were if the pandemic didn’t happen, and the other areas of focus for their schools this upcoming school year.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Nguyen, Sjostrom, and Rodriguez, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.