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AM News Brief: Salt Lake County Council, First Vaccine Given & In-Person Schooling

Photo of small chairs on a small table in a classroom
blanscape via iStock
A dozen parents have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Salt Lake City School District after it opted to keep schools closed and continue remote learning because of the pandemic. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, December 16, 2020

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County Thanks Outgoing Councilmembers

Three Salt Lake County Council members attended their last council meeting Tuesday afternoon: Republicans Michael Jensen and Max Burdick, as well as Democrat Shireen Ghorbani. They were honored with official resolutions, as well as speeches by county residents and public officials. "They have all been so focused on what is best for the public at all times in all our deliberations and in every opinion they have expressed," said Councilmember Ann Granato. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Nurse Receives First Vaccine In The State

Christy Mulder, an intensive care nurse at University of Utah Hospital, was the first person in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Utah hospitals began administering vaccinations to front-line healthcare workers with the highest risk of exposure. State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said she is thrilled that vaccines are finally being distributed in Utah. But she urges people to continue public health measures like wearing masks and social distancing. — Associated Press

Salt Lake City Parents File Lawsuit To Return To In-Person Learning

A dozen parents have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Salt Lake City School District after it opted to keep schools closed and continue remote learning because of the pandemic. The plaintiffs claim the decision represents “a historic deprivation of rights.” The lawsuit, filed Monday, said the district's decision stripped about 21,000 students of rights to a free and open public education under the state constitution. The Salt Lake City Board of Education voted earlier this year to conduct school exclusively online, the only Utah school district to do so in a step to help stop the spread of COVID-19. But the board voted in November to allow K-6 students to return in person next year and made no decision on 7th grade and up. — Diane Maggipinto

Region

Tribes Racing To Spend Federal CARES Act Money

Some tribal governments are rushing to spend federal CARES Act aid before the Dec. 30 deadline. Tribes in the Mountain West have spent the coronavirus relief money on everything from COVID-19 testing to broadband expansion. The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa put it towards a new clinic in Great Falls, Montana. But tribal leaders have only had a few months to spend millions in aid, and many in the region say that’s just not enough time. Especially because the funding was delayed because of a court battle over who in Indian Country was eligible. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives On Navajo Nation

On the Navajo Nation, the first allocation of 3,900 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were delivered to health clinics. Native Medicine Coordinator Roland Begay received the first dose Tuesday. The Utah Navajo Health System worked out an agreement with the state to partner on distribution. It's expected those vaccines will make their way to the Utah portion of the reservation later this month. On Tuesday, Navajo Nation health officials reported 160 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths. The nation has now seen 19,929 cases and 727 people have died. — Diane Maggipinto