Why the Utah Education Association president calls for ‘Pressing a pause on face-to-face learning’

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Education Association is calling on Governor Gary Herbert, the State Board of Education and local school districts to push back plans to reopen schools, and use online learning.

In recent weeks, the state has seen rising COVID-19 cases, and because of this, Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews said schools should not reopen right now, as it puts students, staff, educators and families at risk for contracting the virus.

“And what we came to in the last few weeks is growing concerns about the virus and about the spread,” Matthews said.

Some Utah schools are set to welcome back students to the classroom in the coming weeks, and Matthews said they should opt-in for online, distance learning until COVID-19 cases decline.

“Delaying that [school buildings reopening] is the best of a couple bad options but the other option is just unacceptable in parts and much of our state,” Matthews said.

She said the organization wants students and teachers to be back in the classroom, but feels safety is paramount.

“We want to do it right, and the only way we can do that is by – in many areas –  is by pressing a pause on the face-to-face learning,” Matthews said.

Calling on the Governor, State Board of Education and local school districts, Matthews said it’s to ensure Utah’s 41 districts have accommodations for high-risk educators and training for distance learning; as well as social and emotional support for students.

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“We really need to work together and at UEA, we’re going to do all that we can to pressure that,” Matthews said.

Hailey Hendricks
Hailey graduated from Utah State University in broadcast journalism. She was nominated for a student Emmy and also won a Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ) award for her work on the show ‘Cache Rendezvous.’ She was also nominated for an SPJ on suicide prevention.

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