As schools plan for and attempt to plan for reopening soon in the midst of the continued spread of COVID-19, Utah’s largest teachers union, the Utah Education Association (UEA), has called for hitting the pause button. They are seeking for a temporary continuation of distance learning at least for a few weeks into the school year, or maybe delaying the school year in general.
On KVNU’s For the People program on Tuesday, UEA president Heidi Matthews talked about how they reached this conclusion.
“Since last March, we have been, all of our educators, we are the first people who want to get back with our students. We want that more than anything….well, not more than anything. We want it to be safe, looking out for the safety, health and well-being of our students and our teachers and everyone in our school, as well as the people they come into contact with,” she explained.
Matthews said the situation they had hoped to face this fall, which was declining cases of the virus and more opportunities to mitigate the risks, those just are not options anymore. She said their board of directors, who are all active educators in Utah, met Monday night with representatives from all over the state.
“And they voted unanimously to take this position and of calling on the governor to not stop schools, we’re all about school, but to temporarily delay the opening of schools that are impacted by the virus…the face-to-face opening, the opening in the school buildings and continue with an online distance learning mode.”
She said this is preferable until they get the virus under control and they can also expand their plans in school districts in the state to address some of the things that maybe have not been covered, that educators are concerned about. Late in the day, Governor Herbert said that the advice of both medical experts and teachers will be vital in adjusting and finalizing plans when and how to reopen schools.