Salt Lake City School Board set to vote on in-person classes

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(KSL TV, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City School District may once again offer in-person classes for secondary students. The decision will come down to a vote by the school board Tuesday.

Vote coming on in-person classes

The highly anticipated board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday. On the agenda is whether to offer secondary students in the district an in-person learning option. If approved, secondary students in the Salt Lake School District would have the option to return to in-person classes starting Feb. 8, 2021. Families may choose to continue remote learning if they prefer.

The board already voted to phase in elementary students at the end of January, although there has been no change to other students.

"The Board of Education has always expressed a desire to bring our students back into the classroom as soon as we could safely provide that option," Interim Superintendent Larry Madden said in a release in December. "They've been committed to making data-driven decisions and to taking new information about COVID-19 into account as we learn about it. That's why they voted in November to begin offering an in-person learning option for elementary school students starting the week of January 25: because the latest COVID data showed us it made sense to do so."

According to the district, information from elementary registration indicates that around 64% are opting for in-person learning going forward.

Teacher bonuses hanging in the balance

Prior to Tuesday's vote, parents have already filed a lawsuit and state lawmakers approved year-end teacher bonuses, while excluding districts that do not offer an in-person choice.

"If the school board approves this timeline in their meeting on January 5th, all teachers and school staff, including those in the Salt Lake City School District, will be able to take advantage of the one-time stipend that is part of that funding package," explains Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson in a statement. "What's even more exciting, is that kids will be back in the classroom where they learn best."

Education leaders say approximately 4,000 middle and high school students within the district have had failing grades.

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