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Salt Lake City Students And Parents Rally For In-Person Learning To Resume

A photo of students protesting at East High School.
Sonja Hutson
Students and parents held a rally outside East High School in Salt Lake City Monday.

About 100 students and parents held a rally outside East High School in Salt Lake City Monday afternoon asking the district to bring back in-person class.

Last month, the school board voted to bring back kindergarten through 6th grade early next year, but haven’t decided when to allow 7th grade and above back into schools.

Salt Lake City is the only school district in Utah that didn’t resume in-person teaching when class started earlier this year and has been operating virtually instead.

Students at the rally said their grades have been slipping because of online learning. Ella Fiefia, a 7th grader at Clayton Middle School, said her grades are the lowest they’ve ever been.

“It's hard for me to concentrate while I'm at home,” she said. “There's so many distractions because I have so many siblings. It’s hard to find a quiet place to do my Zoom.”

The number of middle and high school students who received at least one F in the first quarter of this school year is 60% higher than last year, according toa report from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Fiefia said she doesn’t want students to spread COVID-19 by coming back to school, but she thinks the district can find a way to make in-person learning safe.

“We just have to be strict with the procedures of wearing a mask and staying six feet apart in school,” she said. “I think that we could work it out.”

The district did not respond to a request for comment on the rally. Interim Superintendent Larry Madden has said in the past he wants to bring back students as soon as possible, but only when it's safe.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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