Amid omicron surge, some Utah parents pull kids back to remote learning

Aside from health concerns, schools are seeing a shortage of staff.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A sign regarding masks at Hawthorne Elementary School in Salt Lake City on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. As the omicron variant continues to surge, more parents are considering remote learning for their kids.

As COVID-19 cases in Utah soar to their highest levels at any point in the pandemic, disruptions to school are returning in full force in the new year.

Some school districts across the country saw a spike in absences Monday, while others shifted into remote learning. Meanwhile, the highly-contagious omicron variant is exacerbating ongoing staffing shortages, leading to more stress for teachers covering their colleagues’ classes and dealing with bus delays.

In Utah, many parents decided they were better off keeping their kids home.

“It’s just very anxiety-ridden,” said Xochi Burgoyne, a mother of three young daughters in the Jordan School District. “We know that education is super important for them. And so it’s hard to have to weigh their education versus their health and safety.”

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This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.