Utah teachers, parents rally for safe reopening of schools


Katie Isaia, a fifth-grade teacher at Settlement Canyon Elementary School in Tooele, attends a Utah Safe Schools Mask-In urging the governor's leadership in school reopenings at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Katie Isaia, a fifth-grade teacher at Settlement Canyon Elementary School in Tooele, attends a Utah Safe Schools Mask-In urging the governor’s leadership in school reopenings at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 23, 2020. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Parents and teachers rallied at the state Capitol Thursday morning to urge schools to enforce mask wearing and to implement other safety policies recommended by health officials as the state prepares to reopen classrooms this fall.

More than 100 from across the state spread out across the lawn leading up to the Capitol’s front steps for the rally organized by Utah Safe Schools. Some carried signs affirming the importance of teachers and calling for them to be protected; others waved posters in the air while cheering speakers on.

“We have people cramming into buildings protesting wearing a mask to protect others and we want to put 30 kids into a classroom with a gallon of hand sanitizer and say good luck?” said sixth grade teacher Wendy Moss. “It’s just not good enough.

“It’s not good enough for our kids, it’s not good enough for our teachers, it’s not good enough for all of our amazing staff.”

Schools need to reopen safely and the decisions and structures guiding reopening need to be put into place by the health experts, she said, citing masks, social distancing when possible and implementing air filtration systems as examples.

Moss said the plans that school districts are currently drawing up need to be reviewed by doctors who’ve been studying COVID-19 to make sure schools are as safe as they can be.

“Teachers are scared. Teachers are buying air filters for their rooms out of their own pockets,” she said, voice heavy with emotion. “It’s just so wrong. They should be provided with the …read more

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