WEST JORDAN, Utah – The Jordan School District has voted to hold classes on campus Mondays through Thursdays this fall. The decision has upset some parents and teachers but pleased others.
Along with the in-person classes, students will have online instruction on Fridays.
However, there will be an option for parents to enroll their children in online-only classes.
Parents like Rachel Harrison, who is also a pediatric nurse, was one of many who spoke out against the school board’s plan. She does not think they are trying to harm anyone, but she fears children could unknowingly spread COVID-19 to teachers or family members.
“The blood is on your hands when they bring it home to their grandparents, to their siblings, to their little baby sister, to their cousin who is on a vent at home already. I’m scared for them,” Harrison said.
Many teachers were also worried about how to keep a full class socially distant.
Herriman High School Teacher Michael Stone believes more details needed to be worked out, especially because some scientists now say older children can transmit COVID-19.
“At the end of the day, meeting the bare minimum [state] requirements for safety does not equal opening our schools as safely as possible,” Stone said.
But others supported the district’s plan.
Parent Dallas Jekman thinks the science shows the overwhelming majority of kids do not get seriously sick from COVID-19, and fears of them playing together are overblown.
“Guess what? They’ve been playing with each other since March. Do you think any of these kids have just not been going out and playing with their friends? These kids need to be back in school…and they need the influence of their teachers,” Jekman said.
Rachel Gillespie was one of many parents worried about kids backsliding academically if classes are only held online, especially if they come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I’m super lucky to be able to sit at home, teach my kids, and make it work. But I also recognize there are a lot of children that are marginalized and will continue to be marginalized if they are not at school…they don’t have computers or Wifi,” Gillespie said.
Classes will start on August 24th, though parents will be able to switch their choice of in-person or on-campus classes next semester.
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