Utah pediatricians group advocates for students in the classroom, conditionally

Jul 15, 2020, 8:10 AM | Updated: Aug 11, 2020, 10:26 am
FILE -- Senior students wait for class to begin with plastic boards placed on their desks at Jeonmi...
FILE -- Senior students wait for class to begin with plastic boards placed on their desks at Jeonmin High School in Daejeon, South Korea, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. South Korean students began returning to schools Wednesday as their country prepares for a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Kim Jun-beom/Yonhap via AP)
(Kim Jun-beom/Yonhap via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY— The American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) released two widely read statements recently about students returning to school this fall saying that having students in the classroom is important, and should be done safely.

In the first statement, released about 2 weeks ago the Pediatricians said they “strongly [advocate] that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” 

The second, more recent statement back-pedaled a bit emphasizing safety and science as the measures for re-opening.  We called the Utah Chapter Of the AAP to get their thoughts on the Beehive State’s readiness. 

Dr. Paul Wirkus, President of the Utah Chapter Of the AAP says kids really benefit greatly from in-class learning, as opposed to remote options.

“Interaction with other kids, an learning environment with dedicated teachers.  In addition, there are other layers like [the ability] to help kids with special needs… some kids need to be able to go to school to eat lunch, and there are kids whose parents aren’t available to supervise [their learning] at home.”  He adds, “This is not intended to be a risky proposition.  What we are seeing is that kids are not the superspreaders [of the virus] that some thought they would be.”

Wirkus backs up the second AAP statement, particularly in regard to teachers.  “The hope is adequate attention, both personal attention by the [staff] to wearing masks, hand sanitizing… [and] attention from the school district and the state.  [They need to] step up to try and create a creatively safe environment as possible so we’re not putting teachers at risk.”

Is Utah ready for students in the classroom?

“I think we have to look at the big picture,” says Wirkus. “If we look at Florida right now, I would be very hesitant that that is the situation… to be on a fast track to open schools.”  What about Utah, today?  “Probably… A lot of that depends on what we can do over the next month or so.  I think that every plan should be for in-class instruction.  If things go badly south, then the answer is absolutely no.”  Wirkus hopes that the Utah community as a whole can bear down, by wearing masks and social distancing, and not pursuing high-risk behavior.  


Gov. Herbert responds to healthcare professionals call for mask mandate: numbers will dictate stronger measures

SLC schools release plans to reopen in the fall amid COVID-19

Jordan School District reopens and students are required to wear masks in the Fall

Davis School District details plans for fall reopening


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.



We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

One person is dead following a three vehicle crash in Sanpete County around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Ja...
Waverly Golden

Three vehicle crash in Sanpete County leaves one dead

One person is dead following a three vehicle crash in Sanpete County around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28.
1 day ago
Tyre Nichols Protests...
Nouran Salahieh, Jamiel Lynch, Chuck Johnston, Shawn Nottingham, Andy Rose and Phil Gast, CNN

More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols

Protesters across the US heldmarches & rallies on Saturday, one day after the release of video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.
1 day ago
Gov. Spencer Cox covered a broad range of issues Thursday night at the State of the State Address. ...
Chandler Holt

Governor Spencer Cox signs transgender bill, releases statement

Gov. Spencer Cox released a statement on the transgender bill, that would ban transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors, on Saturday.
1 day ago
Temperatures dropping weather worsens...
Allison Chinchar, CNN Meteorologist

‘Dangerous’ arctic air returns this weekend after a month-long hiatus

What has been a mild start to 2023 will come to a halt this weekend as winter makes a roaring comeback across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.
1 day ago
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, talks about SB117, which he is sponsoring, during a Senate Judicia...
Devin Oldroyd

Two Republicans voted against bill banning transgender-related surgery, here’s why

The Utah Senate has approved a bill banning transgender-related surgery and puberty blockers for minors. A total of two Republicans voted against it.
2 days ago
Rabbi Avremi Zippel talks to the crowd during halftime of a Jazz-Portland Trail Blazers game at Viv...
Mark Jones

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Area rabbi shares his thoughts

Rabbi Avremi Zippel joined Inside Sources Friday to discuss International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Utah pediatricians group advocates for students in the classroom, conditionally