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Teachers hold protest at state capitol over safety of back-to-school plans

Posted at 9:39 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 23:39:29-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Educators unsatisfied with school reopening plans rallied at the state capitol Friday afternoon.

They have strict demands for districts, state leaders and the Utah Education Association.

With the COVID-19 pandemic at the front of their minds, organizers led a socially-distanced line of vehicles up State Street to the capitol building.

“We are here and we matter, and our teachers matter, and our high risk [staff] matters,” said Herriman mother of three Emily Johnson.

More than 100 teachers stood apart on the lawn, urging all districts to postpone in-person classes until the pandemic is under control.

“I’m really, really stressed. I don’t know what to plan for. I don’t know how many students. Right now, I have 171 on my rolls. I teach 9th grade English. I don’t know how many I’m going to be teaching online. I don’t know how to space my desks out,” said Weber School District educator Jenny Graviet, who teaches at Sandridge Jr. High.

“For me to feel safe, I need to see medical experts driving these conversations,” said educator Stephen Phelps who argues districts aren’t listening to health experts and COVID-19 testing data.

Time to finalize reopening plans is running out, with several districts scheduled to start classes within the next couple of weeks.