Hot off the Presses: Salt Lake City School District Interim Superintendent Larry Madden announced today that he intends to make a formal proposal to the Board of Education on January 5, 2021 to offer an in-person learning option for secondary students. In November, the Board approved a plan to offer an in-person learning option for elementary school students starting in January 2021.
Additionally, the Board of Education directed the Interim Superintendent to add a discussion for an in-person learning option for secondary students to the January 5, 2021 Board meeting agenda.
Interim Superintendent Madden said, “The Board of Education has always expressed a desire to bring our students back into the classroom as soon as we could safely provide that option. They’ve been committed to making data-driven decisions and to taking new information about COVID-19 into account as we learn about it. That’s why they voted in November to begin offering an in-person learning option for elementary school students starting the week of January 25, 2021: because the latest COVID data showed us it made sense to do so.”
“Now that we know we can have COVID-19 vaccines for our educators and frontline school employees on January 8 and 9, 2021, I feel safe in making a recommendation to the Board to offer in-person learning for our secondary students starting on February 8, 2021. This timeline provides our secondary educators enough time to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The second dose will be administered on January 29 and 30, which means a start date of February 8 gives our educators and employees the additional seven days needed for the vaccine to reach its full efficacy. Coupled with COVID-19 precautions inside our buildings to keep our students safe during in-person learning, the vaccine provides us one more tool to provide a quality education, whether in-person or online.”
Under the superintendent’s proposal, February 8, 2021 will be the date on which secondary students will have an in-person learning option. Families who want their students to continue learning remotely would be able to do so.
In addition to hearing the concerns of stakeholders throughout the pandemic, this week the district has faced additional pressure from the Utah Legislature and from House Speaker Brad Wilson to offer in-person instruction. After productive conversations with the Salt Lake City School District, Speaker Wilson made the following statement:
“I am very encouraged by the discussions this week and think the timeline laid out balances student and educator needs. Utah students and teachers across the state have shown incredible resiliency this past year as they’ve faced the challenges of 2020 head on. I want to commend Salt Lake City educators and staff for the many ways they’ve supported their students and school communities throughout the pandemic. The Legislature demonstrated support for students and educators this week with an unprecedented $400 million investment of new education funding, much of which will flow directly to Salt Lake City School District. If the school board approves this timeline in their meeting on January 5th, all teachers and school staff, including those in the Salt Lake City School District, will be able to take advantage of the one-time stipend that is part of that funding package, and what’s even more exciting is that kids will be back in the classroom where they learn best.”
More details will be presented at the Board meeting on January 5.