EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Gov. Cox says masks still needed in schools, some parent groups upset

Apr 2, 2021, 7:19 AM | Updated: 7:22 am
covid 19 utah...
FILE -- Neal Hendrickson, a former state legislator and current school bus driver, demonstrates how he sanitizes a school bus to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during a press conference about school bus safety outside of Granger High School in West Valley City on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Governor Spencer Cox says Utah’s K-12 students need to continue wearing masks at schools across the state. The governor is calling it necessary until more Utahns are vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Masks are still a must at schools

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Governor Cox explained his reasoning by insinuating that students can still transmit the virus and it’s masks that are allowing kids to get out of the house.

“Masks are one of the ways that we have been able to make that happen… to get kids back in school,” he explained.

He says the elimination of masks in schools would likely result in many kids being sent home due to transmission of the virus.

“If we were to remove masks there are a whole bunch of vulnerable kids and vulnerable parents who would have to take their kids out of school,” he says. “We don’t want that to happen.”

Receiving pushback from some parent groups

Not surprisingly, the announcement was met with mixed reactions from parents.

Some organizations, like “Utah Parents United” and “SeeMySmile.org” continue to call for the mask mandate to be lifted in schools.

Specifically, Utah Parents United took to their Facebook page in an effort to organize potential protests later this month.

BIG NEWS!
We are so excited to announce
SEE MY SMILE

On APRIL 12th, parents across the state will be walking their…

Posted by Utah Parents United on Friday, March 26, 2021

They are calling for rallies in several school districts across the state on April 10, while also urging parents to send their kids to school without a mask on April 12.

“The time is NOW to end our children’s suffering!” reads a post.

Elsewhere, Heidi Matthews with the Utah Education Association is supporting the governor’s decision. She says masks have worked wonders to this point and it would be foolish to ditch the protective measures before the state’s vaccine rollout is complete.

“We can see a finish line. Let’s just stay strong until we get there,” she tells the Deseret News.

The statewide mask mandate is set to be lifted on April 10, although a mandate for students could stay in place through June 15, according to the Utah Department of Health. 

New “return to work” initiative for Utahns who lost jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Get vaccinated.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

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Gov. Cox says masks still needed in schools, some parent groups upset