GOVERNMENT

Senate bill would allow school districts to opt out of enforcing mask mandates

Feb 12, 2021, 6:05 AM | Updated: Feb 13, 2021, 11:57 am
concealed carry...
(Utah State Capitol. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)
(Utah State Capitol. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)

SALT LAKE CITY – Should school districts be allowed to decide to opt out of enforcing a statewide mask mandate on school grounds?  A bill being proposed in the Senate would allow that to happen.  

Senate Bill 187 sponsor, Sen. Ron Winterton, said educators were told back in June to start preparing their plans to let kids come back to school.  Several of the school districts in the eastern part of the state purchased face masks and plexiglass, but were later informed they would use the same public health practices other districts were using.

Winterton said, “One size fits all’ does not work statewide.  I have school districts on the eastern side of the state that didn’t have high counts of COVID anywhere.”

He sid some educators were worried they’d lose out on funding if they didn’t comply with mask mandates.

“They shouldn’t operate out of fear, looking over their shoulders,” he said.

Winterton said school board members were elected to direct the affairs of the school district, not local health departments.  He believes his bill would put the power back in the hands of the educators.  However, some health care officials say most school districts already consult health departments before they make any public safety decisions.

“They rely on us as a local health department to provide them with the expertise and the guidance that they need to ensure their students are in a healthy and safe environment,” said Salt Lake County Health Department Spokesman Nicholas Rupp.  “They don’t have a mechanism to get public health recommendations and public health guidance, except through us.”

Rupp said the SLCHD is still studying SB187, so they haven’t taken an official position on it, yet.

Today’s Top Stories

Government

marriage Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen firearm codify...
Mark Jones

With Roe v. Wade now overturned, could same-sex marriage be next?

Many people are wondering what precedents the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on next, possibly same-sex marriage. Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen says the court could do so it wishes.
23 hours ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Mark Jones

S.B. 174 now in effect in Utah with Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Utah trigger law, known as S.B. 174 is now in effect in the state.
23 hours ago
From left, Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of C...
ALAN FRAM Associated Press

Congress sends landmark gun violence compromise to Biden

The bill that passed the House on Friday is a compromise that illustrates progress on the issue and the deep-seated divide that persists.
23 hours ago
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gives opening remarks as the House select committ...
The Associated Press

Ginni Thomas responds to 1/6 panel, hearings stretch to July

The public hearings into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will stretch into July.
2 days ago
The Senate is poised to take a critical vote to advance a major bipartisan gun safety bill toward f...
Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav, Lauren Fox and Ted Barrett, CNN

Senate passes first major federal gun safety legislation in decades

In the first gun safety legislation in decades, the Senate passed bipartisan bill focused on gun violence.
2 days ago
Lehi ban fireworks...
Mark Jones

Cities around the state announce fireworks restrictions

Fireworks restrictions have been announced by several cities around the state.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Senate bill would allow school districts to opt out of enforcing mask mandates