UPDATE: SLC School officials vote to return to in-person learning 2 days a week

Jan 19, 2021, 8:22 PM | Updated: 11:30 pm

Salt Lake City School...

(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Board of the Salt Lake City School District voted 6-1 late Tuesday night to return to in-person learning for 2 days a week.

This story will be updated. KSL Newsradio’s previous reporting follows: 

SALT LAKE CITY  — Can a judge force the Salt Lake City School District to resume in-person learning for junior high and high school students? One parents’ group is taking the district to court, but in-person learning may resume in early February. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the district has been operating mostly under an online class format. Elementary students and certain groups who need special education services are allowed to attend class face-to-face, but secondary school students are still required to learn virtually.

Interim District Superintendent Larry Madden said the district made this decision out of an abundance of caution as they try to limit the spread of COVID-19. He acknowledged other school districts that have resumed in-person learning, which could benefit educators in the district.

“I think we could learn from all that,” Madden said. “We’ve had administrators and teachers visit schools around the county to see how they’re managing things and how things have gone.”

Madden proposed to bring students back to class by February 8th. He is suggesting a hybrid model to the board which will bring kids and teachers back on a limited basis.

“Students would have the option of coming to school for two days a week, in person.  That way, we can keep the numbers down,” Madden stated.

However, Ryan Bell, the attorney for the parents’ group, says even that wouldn’t be good enough. He argues that students would get very little time to interact with their teachers if they can only attend classes two days out of the week.  Bell pressed Madden about his own comments suggesting online learning wasn’t as effective as in-person interaction.

Bell asked, “In your declaration, [you stated] there are some students who are not able to learn as well through remote learning, correct?” 

Madden responded, “I did say that, yes.”

Bell said the district’s decision has already done irreparable harm to students, pointing at recent reports of failing grades as evidence.  He argues that online classes are not a suitable substitute for normal education.

“That has never, ever, been the standard in this state, let alone the nation,” Bell argued.

The lawsuit is asking for an injunction, preventing the district from continuing with online learning.  It also named former Governor Gary Herbert, the Utah State Board of Education and Madden, himself, as defendants.  Kyle Keiser, who represents the district, says educators have done everything they can to provide a safe education.

“It’s not like the district is ignoring the students and not providing students access to a system of education that is what is required,” Keiser said.

Judge Adam Mow instructed the attorneys he wouldn’t be able to issue an immediate ruling.  Mow said he’ll issue a written ruling as fast as he can.

We want to hear from you.

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

Education + Schools

Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Scot Peterson shown, a school arming school staff is aw...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker discusses arming school workers

Arming school workers will lead to safer schools, says a Utah lawmaker whose bill awaits the governor's pen to become law.

1 day ago

the state capitol is pictured, the utah supreme court is seeking more information about a redistric...

Adam Small

Utah lawmakers pass two school security bills

The Utah Legislature passed two school security bills. One of them deals with concealed carry incentives for teachers.

3 days ago

Generic image of crime scene tape. A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nea...

Michael Houck

Shooting near Naples Elementary School forces lockdown, two victims hospitalized

A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nearby Naples Elementary School to lockdown Wednesday afternoon.

3 days ago

Students walk to their buses after school at Rose Springs Elementary in Erda, Tooele County, on Thu...

Jessica Lowell & Devin Oldroyd

Application process for the Utah Fits All Scholarship now open

The application for the Utah Fits All Scholarship is now open. The scholarship will allow families to apply for up to $8,000 of state funds.

3 days ago

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...


Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

5 days ago

cellphone schools...

Peter Johnston

Bill that would remove competency test requirement for teachers looks ready to pass

Currently, those pursuing a teaching license in Utah are required to pass a classroom management test. However, it could disappear from Utah's teaching licensure requirements if a bill passes the Senate this week.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

UPDATE: SLC School officials vote to return to in-person learning 2 days a week