Salt Lake City School District offers new online option for K-6 students

Salt Lake Virtual Academy opens this fall and will offer optional in-person opportunities.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Miles Jones, then a sixth grader at Unitah Elementary School, laughs during the first day of classes online for the 2020-21 school year in the Salt Lake City School District, on Sept. 14, 2020.

The Salt Lake School District will offer an online school for K-6 students starting this fall, the district announced Wednesday.

Kenneth Limb, who will be the principal of Salt Lake Virtual Elementary, said the venture is a direct result of the state jumping to online schooling last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that we learned new ways to do things and that we can be effective online,” he said. “And in fact, there are students and parents who need and/or want [school] online.”

The district has hired one teacher per grade level and expects about 25 students will enroll per class, he said. The teachers have both traditional classroom experience and online teaching experience due to the pandemic, he added.

Learning options at Salt Lake Virtual Elementary will include:

  • Online classroom instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

  • Online or in-person small group instruction on Wednesday.

  • Hands-on science and fine art opportunities on optional, in-person Wednesdays.

  • Access to the district’s online library and print libraries.

  • A district computer provided to each student.

Families can enroll students at bit.ly/3y2HRXm. The district also will hold in-person registration session in Room 208 at the district office on July 26 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; July 27 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and July 28 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Though Salt Lake Virtual Elementary is designed for grades K-6, middle school students interested in continuing with remote learning can work with teachers and administrators to schedule remote or in-person classes as needed, the district said.

High school students who want to continue online can enroll in Innovations Early College High School, in Utah Students Connect or in the Statewide Online Education Program.

After Utah’s schools closed in the spring of 2020, K-12 students had the option of returning to in-person classes that fall in 40 of the state’s 41 school districts. Only the Salt Lake City School District started and remained entirely online for months, with its school board members citing the high coronavirus case numbers in the capital city. It began offering in-person classes to students, staggered by age, in January and February.