ALL NEWS

SLC School Board Member: vote to hold classes online was partly political

Aug 5, 2020, 1:11 PM | Updated: Aug 11, 2020, 10:19 am
Salt Lake City School Board...
Salt Lake City School Board member Katherine Kennedy (Salt Lake School District)
(Salt Lake School District)

KSL NewsRadio has obtained a letter from a Salt Lake City school board member, in which she appears to give a potentially political reason for keeping students at home. 

In the letter addressed to a parent voicing their concern over the Salt Lake City School District’s reopening plan, board member Katherine Kennedy said her decision to vote on postponing in-person classes was done, in part, for political reasons.

“Many of you have told me to read the CDC guidelines. I have read them. These are new CDC guidelines because our president did not like the original CDC guidelines. These new guidelines were not drafted by the CDC but by the Health and Human Services Department and were designed to put pressure on communities to open schools because President Trump believes it will help his campaign to do this. I will tell you that I don’t want him to win. There could be no worse outcome in November,” Kennedy wrote.


READ THE FULL LETTER


Earlier in the letter, Kennedy said she has appreciated the input from all of those who had reached out to her voicing their concerns saying she had, “consulted academic public health sites rather than government sites, because they seem less politicized.” 

“Many of you have asked me not to be ‘fear-based.’ I say loudly and clearly that I think it is okay to be afraid of the virus. The Virus is scary. Parents, students, and teachers are worried about the virus, and they have written to me about their concerns about what might happen to them if they catch it. 

“Usually, however, they are more worried about what might happen if they catch it and pass it to someone they love.”

Recently, Gov. Gary Herbert amended state COVID-19 guidelines to allow for the Salt Lake School District to hold in-person classes even though they are still in the “orange” threat level. 

In a 6-1 vote last week, the Salt Lake School board voted to both postpone the start of school to September 8 as well as move their entire curriculum online until Salt Lake County’s average positive test rate for COVID-19 drops below 5%.

After the vote, Interim Superintendent Larry Madden said, “Our goal is to maintain a balance between the health and safety of our students and an excellent education. The plan may be altered as health conditions change.”

Kennedy Responds

Kennedy tells KSL NewsRadio that her decision is solely based on the well-being of the children and not on her distaste for President Trump.

“I don’t think I [crossed a line],” Kennedy told Dave and Dujanovic.

“I wonder if people think that the United States has handled this epidemic, this pandemic, in a way that’s an example for the rest of the world. I’m worried about our kids.

“The United States has about 4.7 million cases [of COVID-19], out of the 18.7 million cases in the world. I’m worried about our kids and I’m worried about their parents and I’m worried about our teachers.”

Kennedy said that the guidelines released by the CDC aren’t a fit for the Salt Lake School District.

“I look at the decisions made by the Trump administration and his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and wonder if those are good decisions that we’re making on behalf of our children in the Salt Lake City School District.”

Kennedy also said she wants kids to be back in the classroom and supports the plan detailed by Interim Superintendent Madden that would allow kids to physically return to school if the positive case counts in Salt Lake County drop below 5% and new case counts fall below 10 per 100,000 residents.

“We all want kids back in classrooms. Everyone does. Everyone knows that that’s best for kids. We also feel like it’s risky. We feel this virus is dangerous.”


Listen to the full conversation  

 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Respect for Marriage Act...
MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions passes House

President Joe Biden is expected to promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages, a relief for many.
10 hours ago
traffic in utah lines up...
Heather Kelly and Elizabeth Weiler

Crashes and bad weather cause traffic across Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Several crashes caused closures and delays on major freeways and ramps across the state Thursday morning. I-15 traffic An early morning crash on northbound on I-15 caused an oil spill in Draper. By 9 a.m. on Thursday, the freeway was closed at 146000 South and there were six miles of stopped […]
10 hours ago
West Jordan Elementary is closing its gate for the last time at the end of the school year, due to ...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

West Jordan Elementary School is closing its gates after 40 years

West Jordan Elementary is closing its gate for the last time at the end of the school year, due to safety issues within the infrastructure.
10 hours ago
A Utah doctor says Americans should not avoid a preventative test for colon cancer, despite a recen...
Simone Seikaly

After celebrity death to colon cancer, Utah doctor weighs in on colonoscopy

Colon cancer and colonoscopies are in the news after the death of actress Kirstie Alley to colorectal cancer.
10 hours ago
Those planning herb gardens in Utah should focus on five specific plants -- basil, parsley, chives,...
Michelle Lee

Planning herb gardens in Utah? Here are 5 must-haves!

Basil tops the list of recommendations when planning herb gardens according to USU Extension horticulturist Sheriden Hansen.
10 hours ago
U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later...
Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood, Jeremy Herb and MJ Lee, CNN

WNBA star Brittney Griner released from Russian detention in prisoner swap for convicted arms dealer

The Biden administration repeatedly made offers to get Whelan released as part of this deal, even after Russia made clear only Griner was acceptable.
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

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...
Sorenson

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...
Macey's

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
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
SLC School Board Member: vote to hold classes online was partly political