Salt Lake City is classified as an orange (moderate risk) zone for COVID-19. And by moderate we mean over 14,000 cases and 132 deaths, with numbers continuing to climb on a daily basis. With that said, schools here in the city are unable to reopen until we’re at least within the yellow (low risk) phase. Instead, schools and students will have to adjust to online learning this fall. This plan has caused outrage amongst some parents.

In a report from KSL, parents voiced their frustrations. “We have schools that are 2.7 miles away that are in a different district that have the opportunity to go to school five days a week,” said Glenna Lotulelei. “We are not even given the chance to make a choice and as a parent, I feel like we should make a choice if our child should go to school and play sports.”

According to two surveys given to parents and teachers in the spring, most families and staff agree with the school restart plan for the 2020-2021 school year. “My husband and I are definitely doing the distance learning option, there’s no way we’re going to send our kids into the fire.” Jen Brown, a local mother, said in a statement.

While teachers and families continue to discuss the logic and practicability of reopening school doors in Salt Lake City, every school across the United States has been met with pressure from the White House. A recent tweet from President Trump shows a seemingly politicized view on the health and wellness of our children and school workers.

In spite of this, as NPR reported last week, the reopening of schools is based on the recommendations of local and state health officials and leaders of school districts, all of whom take the thoughts and concerns of families very seriously.

Governor Herbert will be deciding this month whether or not to move Salt Lake City from orange to yellow. If Salt Lake City is moved to the yellow phase, The Salt Lake City School District has laid out a plan. “In the Yellow (Low Risk) phase, our schools will be able to operate on a Modified Schedule, where students will spend time each week learning in class and time learning remotely.” Larry Madden, Interim Superintendent for the Salt Lake City School District, wrote in a statement (click here to read full statement).

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