It’s almost back to school time and with the pandemic, people have lots of safety concerns.
“I would prefer to see them following CDC guidelines, things like social distancing. You know, doctors have essentially said that this is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID. The plans right now don't allow for social distancing at all, you know, reducing the number of kids. And the plans don't address that at all. They're just simply 'let's go back to school normally, with full classrooms.'”
Steven Phelphs is a parent of school aged children and teaches at Lakeridge Middle School. He is the co- founder of the Facebook group “Safe Utah Schools,” where educators and parents can discuss Utah’s plans for school reopening.
Anna McNamer, is another parent and teaches at Butler Middle School. She shares similar concerns to Phelps and said some of her colleagues have resigned or retired because of their fears.
“I know there are educators who say you know, I won't teach them until I get to go back to the classroom, face to face," she said. But from what I see in my social circle that's one person. And everyone else is pretty terrified and figuring out you know, do I need to wear scrubs and a face mask and gloves and a face shield? How am I going to do this? How are we going to make it work without spreading this between our students and what will happen if by participating in the system I'm responsible for the death of one of my students?”
And when it comes to how schools will meet the diverse needs of students, especially those with disabilities, Amanda Longwell is upset with what she said is happening in her child’s district.
“I've had parents listen to the entire board meeting and not once the board even read the word of a child with a disability, not once and that sends a message to those families and those students," she said. "You know, they're essentially not being considered and these openings and they essentially are not a priority."
Utah school administrators are supposed to announce their plans for the coming school year by Saturday.