Some families still can’t decide about school during the pandemic

Aug 14, 2020, 11:17 AM

Some Utah families are still trying to decide whether to go back to school in person or remote, even as schools along the Wasatch Front prepare to start fall classes amid the pandemic.

Doctors are trying to help them with that decision making.

School in a pandemic? Every family is different

“Just from a broad public health standpoint, my position is, in general, we need to try to get kids back into school. Individually, families are going to have specific circumstances they need to consider,” said Dr. Ryan Gottfredson at Utah Valley Pediatrics.

Those considerations deal with a family’s level of comfort and risk factors.

“Is there someone in the family living in the home who has a severe underlying medical condition that puts them at high risk for complications due to Covid-19? That is an important consideration. Does the child him or herself have a medical condition that would put them at risk?” said Gottfredson on KSL TV this week.

Factors to consider

Intermountain Healthcare put out a document or checklist helping people see more clearly some of the factors to weigh in the decision. The image is below. 

pandemic school utah

Graphic courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare.

Families can consider the community spread in their area, the size of their school, the school or school district’s policies and re-opening plan. They even need to see whether their child will wear a face covering all day.

Other considerations include how your child learns. For example, do they learn better with a teacher in-person, and with the socio-emotional support of classmates, or can they handle online learning or remote learning by themselves?

Families also may need to make decisions based on meals and other services a school provides. Or whether they even have the bandwidth and time to devote to remote learning at home.

“It’s not a bad idea to visit with your pediatrician, and try to assess what is the risk for your child going back to school,” said  Gottfredson.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, 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.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Today’s Top Stories


utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
1 month ago
COVID-19 testing kits...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The complicated tale of COVID-19 test kits

What's so complicated about COVID-19 test kits? Mostly, the expiration date. It's a puzzle that nobody seems able to solve.
2 months ago
moderna young kids...

Moderna seeks to be 1st with COVID shots for littlest kids

The company hopes the FDA will rule in time for young children to start getting their low-dose vaccinations by summer.
2 months ago
New eligibility rules for pandemic-EBT program...
Waverly Golden

New eligibility guidelines for Pandemic-EBT

Utah households will have to apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits with their local school by May 6 to possibly receive Pandemic-EBT.
3 months ago
Eighth grade students and their teacher wear masks during their dual language class at Mount Jordan...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Bill that would allow parents to sue teachers over curriculum substituted during general session

The part of a bill that would have included the ability for parents to sue teachers if they didn't like what was on the lesson plan is being substituted on Utah's Capitol hill. 
5 months ago
The Salt Lake School Board eliminated 42 teaching positions because of dropping enrollment numbers....
Martha Harris, Paul Nelson, and Kira Hoffelmeyer

42 teaching positions eliminated in SLC from decline in student enrollment

The board eliminated 42 teaching positions because of dropping enrollment numbers
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Some families still can’t decide about school during the pandemic