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Salt Lake City School District
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Salt Lake City School District going door-to-door to register all students

SALT LAKE CITY — Schools in the Salt Lake City School District are taking a pro-active approach to help parents get children enrolled in school by going door-to-door.

District representatives are concerned that some residents served by the district can’t get online, either because they do not have the proper devices or the broadband internet capability that drives online learning.

Salt Lake City School District Spokeswoman Yandary Chatwin told KSL Newsradio that the district learned about these discrepancies during the spring and summer months when the global pandemic made online learning the only option. 

“One of the biggest gaps we’ve seen with online learning from the spring is that a lot of families just don’t have access to the devices or to broadband,” Chatwin said.

“We’ve noticed that some of our families, especially our more vulnerable populations, haven’t registered their students for school quite yet.”

To address the problem, Chatwin says that representatives from the district are going to neighborhoods to check in with families,’

They want to make sure that both children and parents are ready to start off the year.

The Salt Lake City School District is aiming for September 8th as their start date.  And at least at the beginning of the year, classes in the Salt Lake City School District will be 100% online.

Chatwin says that over the summer the district obtained 7,000 more laptops. Six thousand more are on the way. 

“We have 1,500 iPads, we have 600 hotspots. We feel that, with increased capacity, every student that needs a device will have one,” Chatwin said.

The district wants as many students as possible to be able to start the year on the first day, and that’s why they’re in the process of visiting homes. On Tuesday they visited students that attend Clayton Middle School. Chatwin says they hope to register about 60 students.

“We’re going out because we care about our students. We want to make sure that they are ready to start the year out strong.”

Over the next two weeks, leaders from the Salt Lake City School District will arrange either virtual or safe in-person meetings between students and teachers. They’ll also provide training for parents who may need some one-on-one time with teachers to learn about how to get online and the specifics about the school’s online learning system, Canvas.

Chatwin says that the district wants to bring kids back to school only when the number of positive coronavirus tests is at or below a 5% positivity rate. They assume that it might take until the end of the first quarter of school to reach that number.

That’s the first week of November. 

“If conditions improve, we could come back at the mid-term,” Chatwin said.

Contributing:  Simone Seikaly