Reopening Schools At Teachers' Expense
Despite warnings from medical professionals, Utah is pushing forward with reopening schools this fall. Teachers are, yet again, going to bear the brunt of the burden.
Utah’s spending per student is the lowest in the Union, and well below the national average for per student spending on schools. This means that teacher salaries are low, and materials and supplies are in short supply. This becomes particularly concerning at times like now when teachers are being asked to go the extra mile for our students.
Teachers are being asked to ensure that their students are socially distancing, and keeping clean, wearing masks, all while trying to teach the students at the same time. While schools and districts are helping where they can, Utah has the largest class sizes of any state making social distancing extremely difficult. Some teachers are also expected to find a way to take care of distance learning students while still running their regular classes. This substantially increases their workloads, where teachers are already known for putting in long hours.
Some teachers are resigning due to the situation. In the Granite School District, for example, 16 have resigned and 12 have retired due in part to COVID-19. Utah already has a shortage of teachers, so losing more teachers adds pressure to the teachers that remain. And as Utah has one of the lowest average salaries for teachers, we are asking a lot from our teachers and are giving very little.
And, of course we cannot overlook the fact that these teachers are putting their health at risk by returning to teach this fall. For those who are high risk individuals, this is particularly concerning. While the students are low risk for COVID-19, current studies suggest that they may be even more contagious than adults, leaving teachers in a very difficult situation.
The United Utah Party believes in supporting our teachers. We believe we should better support them, and listen to them. In this case, when health officials and teachers unions alike are asking to not reopen schools, we should listen to them. Until it is safe to do so, it would not be ethical to reopen our schools. Vote for United Utah Party candidates to better support our teachers and schools!