SALT LAKE CITY — Most parents, students, and teachers believe in-person learning is best for kids academically and socially. But school districts in Utah who hold classes on campus are finding it challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael McDonough teaches at Woodstock Elementary School in Murray. He says it’s difficult for many teachers to teach in-person students at the same time as those taking online classes.
The challenge of trying to juggle both can worry them more than COVID-19, he said.
“The overwhelming difficulty of teaching in two modalities took over as the main concern. Teachers are tired — teachers are really, really tired,” McDonough said.
He feels students are falling behind because there is not enough time in the day to check up on all of them.
In-person and online learning: too much at once
McDonough says the Granite School District has hired more teachers’ aides to take the pressure off.
However, he says many teachers get frustrated when rules from the district or public health departments change.
“Every time something changes, we hear from teachers [saying], ‘Oh, now on top of everything else we have to do this, too?’ We don’t think that we can just keep going like this forever,” McDonough said.
The back-and-forth between quarantining and not quarantining can cause children to lose interest in their schoolwork.
Doug Perry with the Murray City School District says about half of their students chose to take all of their classes in-person.
Teachers there are also finding it hard to live up to their own high standards because they also constantly have to switch between in-person and online learning models. But the district doesn’t want to bring back students full time to campus just yet.
“A lot of families who just don’t feel comfortable having their students in school. There are students who are high risk,” Perry said.
In the meantime, the district is asking everyone to stay patient.
“Our plan right now is just to stick this out and, hopefully, next fall we can be looking in the rearview mirror of COVID-19,” Perry said.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
- Obtain a flu shot.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707