On a Friday night at Logan High School, the stands are packed. After several states have shut down schools for COVID-19 many are making their way to Utah, just so their kids can participate in sports, and in-person learning.
Jamie Heywood, a junior at Ridgeline Highschool has recently moved to Cache Valley from Portland, Oregon.
“Here I have access to tutoring and access to theater and musicals and football games and sports and so it’s just a lot nicer having access to all those things,” Heywood said.
Along with Jamie, many others are finding a warm welcome. Heather Lambert, mother of four and new Utah resident is happy they made the decision to move here.
“My 16 year old too, I saw him turn around a lot,” Lambert said. “He basically had just given up and now here he’s like working out, he’s going swimming, now he’s in school and he’s so much happier. He was playing very competitively in Oregon so we looked for a really good team in Utah and basically contacted the coach this summer and said ‘hey can my son swim with you for two weeks’ and he said ‘sure’. And in that time in July, I started thinking, if things don’t get back to normal I’m going to bring my kid out here.”
While many are grateful for the experiences they are given in Utah, local parents and students worry about losing opportunities to these newcomers.
Coach Kjar, head football coach at Corner Canyon High School has concerns about the effects these new students will make in regards to high school sports.
“I think most communities are probably pretty accepting, especially if they’re going to stay there,” Kjar said. “But if they don’t then that gets a little bit tough. Well, it just increases competition. So I mean as far as like a coach that puts you in kind of a little bit of a bind for sure.”
Whether these families decide to stay long term or only for a season the impact will like have an impact many for years to come.