SLC School District defends online-only classes after remarks by Lt. Gov.

Sep 30, 2020, 5:24 PM | Updated: 5:24 pm
Utah Schools COVID-19...
School is back in session today for most districts across the state, which has some worried about a potential spike in coronavirus cases following Thanksgiving break. (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio)
(PHOTO: KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Citing the lack of a statewide mandate dictating how and when public schools would reopen during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the district’s concern that families within their district boundaries have been hit “particularly hard” by effects of the virus, the Salt Lake City School District on Wednesday defended its decision to open in an “online only” capacity.

The comments were in response to Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, who said during the Utah Governor’s Debate on Tuesday that he questioned the District’s decision. Cox, a Republican, is running against Democratic opponent Chris Peterson to replace Gov. Gary Herbert.

“There are other things at play here that are damaging to our children besides the coronavirus,” Cox said during the debate.

“The coronavirus is absolutely important and we’re taking it very seriously. But the repercussions of not having kids in school can be just as significant and may be worse in some cases,” Cox said.

“In fact, many of our students are being left behind, especially those in low income area[s], students with disabilities. The Salt Lake City School District is the only school district in the state that has not gone back to in-person learning, and that’s a huge mistake.”

Two months ago, the Salt Lake City School District School Board voted 6-1 to offer online classes only when the school year began. At that time, interim Superintendent Larry Madden admitted that some parents wanted classes on campus. He said at that time that protecting students and staff was their overriding concern.

After Lt. Gov. Cox’s comments at the debate, Madden again defended the district’s decision.

“State leaders have chosen not to issue statewide mandates to guide our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Madden said in a statement. “Touting a belief in local control, they have instead left crucial parts of Utah‘s public response up to locally elected government leaders, including locally elected school boards.”

Madden also noted that schools in other Utah school districts have had to temporarily close down or move to hybrid online/in-person schedules when cases of COVID-19 reached pre-determined levels. 

“While several schools across the county have experienced local COVID-19 outbreaks, our students have continued to safely learn online,” Madden said.

The District says it will “continue to let local conditions and local data guide decisions made in the best interest of students in the Salt Lake City School District.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Today’s Top Stories

Education + Schools

Six people were killed at a small, private Christian school just south of downtown Nashville on Mon...
Associated Press

What we know about the Covenant school shooting in Nashville

Police say the shooting took place over about 14 minutes. The shooter, Audrey Hale was a former student. She is also dead.
1 day ago
Flags fly at half-staff at the Utah Capitol. (Photo from @GovCox/Twitter)...

Gov. Cox orders flags be lowered in honor of Nashville shooting victims

Gov. Spencer Cox has ordered all flags in Utah be lowered to half-staff in honor of the Nashville school shooting victims.
1 day ago
a child pictured outside in the snow during the day...
Devin Oldroyd

Is remote learning the death of the school snow day?

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah saw yet another snowstorm Monday, many schools opted for remote learning. This begs two questions: will students ever see another snow day? Is remote learning the death of the school snow day? Director of Communications and Operations with the Davis County School District Chris Williams joins Dave and Dujanovic […]
2 days ago
FILE (Getty Images)...
Amie Schaeffer

Lake effect snow causes school delays, remote learning in northern Utah

Lake effect snow came down hard in northern Utah. The weather prompted several school districts to opt for delayed start.
2 days ago
"Society pits homeschooling and public schooling against each other, and it's a farce," said Kimber...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Public and homeschool teachers are on the same side

Homeschool and public school teaching are often pitted against each other. But they may have more in common than you think.
2 days ago
An attempt to ban books in Utah has been met with someone trying to ban the bible....
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Would we need to ban books in school if parents just parented?

Are these attempts to ban books about the books or the parenting? Amanda Dickson explores what happens if parents parented.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
SLC School District defends online-only classes after remarks by Lt. Gov.