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Immunocompromised Utah family calls for remote learning option at charter school

Posted at 9:16 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 23:33:28-05

MAGNA, Utah — Thousands of students are back in the classroom after temporarily going remote last week.

Monday was also the first day back since the mask mandates in Salt Lake and Summit counties were struck down.

The Martinez family stopped by the Ellis R. Shipp Community Health Center after school Monday so 15-year-old Dallas could get his booster shot.

“If he has to go to school with a bunch of people who are unmasked, the best thing I can do is get him boosted,” said his mother, Amanda Martinez.

“Might as well do as much as you can,” chimed in his little brother, Nicolas.

Dallas and Nicolas both attend charter schools.

Given the current surge of COVID-19 cases, Amanda said the family now feels like they have to choose between health and education. Nicolas is immunocompromised, and his school, Entheos Academy, doesn’t offer remote learning.

“If a mask mandate was in place, I would feel comfortable. But without there being one, I feel like I need to have another option open to me,” she said.

She said it wasn’t an easy process getting her kids into their schools. She’d hate to take them away from their friends and the individualized learning, and then have to re-apply later.

“If we were in a public school, we wouldn’t have this issue. We could just take them out and do online schooling when it was safe. But charter families don’t have that choice,” she said.

In a statement sent to FOX 13 News, Entheos Academy wrote in part, “Although Entheos Academy does not presently provide an ongoing Distance Learning option for all it’s students, the school works with those who have health concerns or disabilities that require individualized plans.”

The statement went on to say, “A student is only ever unenrolled for missing school if they have 10 or more consecutive days of unexcused absences. Students can be excused under state law for things such as injury and illness. We continue to follow the same laws and Covid protocols required of all public schools, striving to deliver a quality education for our families through this challenging and ever-changing situation.”

Amanda said the school has made accommodations to help Nicolas. They provided a safe place for him to eat lunch alone and classmates must mask up if they choose to sit by him.

She said she’s reached out to local and state lawmakers in hopes that a remote learning option can be considered for charter school families.