Judge rules against parents in lawsuit against SLC School District calling for in-person learning

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A judge has ruled against a group of parents who sued the Salt Lake City School District and called for a return to in-person learning.

According to a release, District Judge Adam Mow, who presided over the case, determined that the decision made by SLCSD to move to an online learning format due to COVID-19 did not cause irreparable harm to the students of the district, saying that in-person learning is not a constitutional right.

Lawyers representing the parents, in this case, argued that the decision to move to a strictly online learning format has caused unprecedented failure rates among students in the school. While true, Judge Mow noted that the failure rates seen in schools during the pandemic were not unique to SLCSD.

It was also determined that while online education may not have been the preferred education method for students and parents in this case, that SLCSD provided adequate and appropriate learning opportunities, and the students’ access to education was not restricted.

Judge Mow pointed out that under Utah law, it is only the responsibility of the school to determine the curriculum that is best suited for a student, and that nothing under Utah law explicitly states that Utah school districts are not legally obligated to make that curriculum for strictly in-person learning.

Parents were also given the option to transfer their children to another school district if they disagreed with the SLCSD online education plan, which they did not do.

Overall, the court determined that although online education has caused academic, and emotional difficulties for the students both in this case and elsewhere, the decision made by SLCSD to move to online learning in response to the pandemic did not cause irreparable harm to these students and did not violate their constitutional rights.

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