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In or Out? Utah teachers react to fall school plans

(PHOTO: AP Photo/LM Otero)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –It’s a summer break that has felt like anything but a break for Utah teachers. With school districts all over the state still getting their plans in place for the fall, many educators are left “in limbo” wondering what their days will look like.

Utah teachers sound off  

Glenna Lotutulei is a teacher in the Salt Lake School District. She says the issue of teaching during a pandemic really shouldn’t be that complicated.

“We have teachers that are willing to go back to the classroom,” explains Lotutulei. “We have teachers that prefer to stay online.”

She’s wondering why every district along the Wasatch Front seems to have a different game plan. According to her, there should only be two options. Parents can opt to send their kids back to school in-person full-time or have them learn online full-time.

“Why can’t we just do that across the state of Utah if we have teachers that are willing to go into the classroom?” she asks.

Utah’s largest school district, Alpine, is doing something similar. They’re allowing parents to choose between the two, with just a few caveats. Class will end an hour early everyday and all teachers and students attending class in-person will need to wear a face covering.

Yet the question still remains, how many teachers will be operating online this fall? There could be a concern that overwhelmingly teachers will request to stay home, which could leave in-person classes understaffed.

Ready to return

Jeff Haney, with the Canyons School District, says the response they’ve received from teachers so far has been quite the opposite. Their district sent out a survey to their teachers and received just under 1,400 responses. A whopping 98% said they intend to return to in-person teaching in the fall.

PHOTO: Courtesy of the Canyons School District

“But then again, we had a significant number of teachers indicate that they would be interested in applying for the online teaching assignments,” he explains.

PHOTO: Courtesy of the Canyons School District

Specifically, 33% say they would apply for an online-only position in the fall. Haney says, while they’re only one district, it’s still a sign that teachers all over the state are ready to teach one way or another this year.