SLC teacher on returning to class feels her health is ‘in the middle of this political battle’

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On February 8th, middle and high school teachers in Salt Lake City will return to in-person learning.

“At West High School, our population is disproportionately affected by COVID,” said Holly Reynolds, a social studies teacher at West High School. “They can’t take the hit.”

Reynolds says returning to school is very personal for teachers.

It’s the first time both teachers and students in the district will be back in the classroom since the start of the pandemic.

“We do have families, and we have our own health.”

Reynolds says teachers advocated for all of them to be vaccinated first, but those efforts failed.

“A lot of teachers in our district don’t even have a first vaccination and won’t have when they came back on February 8th,” said Reynolds. It’s very frustrating. I personally have been vaccinated.”

While Reynolds says she’s received the first dose, she won’t get the second by the time she’s due back in class.

And, with so much controversy surrounding teacher bonuses dependent on them returning to in-person learning, Reynolds says teachers feel they’re in the middle of a political fight.

“So, the fight just isn’t about us and $1,500 and a vaccination for myself, it’s about fighting for families that often don’t have a voice right now,” said Reynolds.

As part of the options being offered, middle school students are in the classroom two days a week. Wednesday is a digital learning day. High school students have the flexibility to choose which classes they want to attend in-person or remotely.

Reynolds says when it comes to fulfilling this proposal, teachers will have to figure out a new way to teach again.

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