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Parents pushing back on ongoing mask requirement in Utah schools

Eli Carter-Smith and his first grade class at Dilworth Elementary are glad to be back in the classroom after nearly a year of online school. Photo: Heather Simonsen/KSL-TV

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Some Utah parents are pushing back on the ongoing mask mandate in schools as the statewide mandate is set to expire this week.

Some parents banding together, upset over masks

The upset parents are marking their voice heard in a variety of ways, including planning weekend rallies in school districts across the state and speaking out at local school board meetings.

What has them upset is the current state guideline that requires K thru 12 students to wear masks while at school until June 15.

Speaking in the past, Governor Spencer Cox has said masks in school is a small price to pay in order for kids to stay in class and away from home.

“Masks are one of the ways we’ve been able to make that happen… get kids back in school,” he explains. “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. We don’t want that to happen.”

Nonetheless, some parents continue to point towards the relatively low transmission of COVID-19 within schools as proof that masks are not needed.

“Easier to keep it until the school year was over”

Despite the concerns, Representative Paul Ray tells the Deseret News there has been “no talk of changing” current legislation aimed at masks in school. According to him, it would take a special session of the Legislature to alter any K-12 mandate.

“It was easier to keep it until the school year was over,” explains Representative Ray. “I, personally, had no problem with masks coming off at schools, but we wanted to keep the different schools from causing issues.”

Additionally, according to Utah Department of Health guidance, local school boards or county councils do not have the legal authority to end any mask requirements. 

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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