SALT LAKE CITY — Elementary students in the Salt Lake City School District will start in-person learning in January and February, the school board decided Tuesday night.
The new plan is a staggered return by grade:
- Pre-K through 1st grade starting the week of Jan. 25
- 2nd-3rd grade starting the week of Feb. 1
- 4th-6th grade starting the week of Feb. 8
The exact dates within those weeks will be determined later.
The district has been online-only for the entire 2020-21 school year.
The board voted 4-3 to accept a proposal from interim Superintendent Larry Madden, with adjustments. It was originally proposed to start on Jan. 11, 19 and 25, respectively.
The board also included that the superintendent can put a hold on the decision based on health risks between now and then, and the board can consider "alternative return" at their next meeting on Dec. 1.
The proposal argued that it is safe for students to return to in-person learning due to younger students having a lower risk of "getting and transmitting the virus." The proposal also states that a consensus is emerging that schools are not the origins of infections.
Students will have the option of remaining online or attending in-person, however, and the proposal states that they will aim to keep "High-quality remote instruction for students who continue online."
Those who voted in favor Tuesday night were Michelle Tuitupou, Melissa Ford, Kristi Swett and Mike Nemelka. Katherine Kennedy, Nate Salazar and Samuel Hanson voted against it.
The meeting went nearly five hours, although a broad range of other topics and processes were discussed and voted on.
The meeting was not without internal conflict, however:
TONIGHT: @slcschools board member Mike Nemelka withdrew a motion, got mad at another board member for not making a motion yet and signed off the meeting.— 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐞𝐞 (@brian_schnee) November 18, 2020
"I'm beginning to think after two years on this damn board, half of you don't believe in the kids themselves."#utpol pic.twitter.com/F6kWxiwIio
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The full meeting can be watched here: