EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Salt Lake City School District keeping masks until end of school year

May 19, 2021, 3:16 PM
Utah needs more school bus drivers...
FILE -- Students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in South Salt Lake wear masks as the get on a bus to go home after their first day of school on Aug. 24, 2020. (PHOTO: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
(PHOTO: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Salt Lake City School District has decided to require face masks through the end of the school year. It comes shortly before state lawmakers voted to prohibit any mask requirements in schools this upcoming fall.

Mask up in the SLCSD until the end of the school year

Following an announcement from Governor Spencer Cox, all school districts in the state have been given the opportunity to drop mask requirements for their last week of classes. The last day of the school year for the Salt Lake City School District is Monday, June 7.

Interim Superintendent Larry Madden says the risk outweighed the reward when he thought about dropping their mask requirement for that one day.

“I think in our area, we feel like one more day of wearing masks will just provide one more layer of safety for our students and families,” he explained.

With that being said, he’s not necessarily against the decision from Governor Cox to drop the statewide mask mandate in schools a little early.

“There are districts around the state and counties around the state where they haven’t seen a case in months,” he said. “It may be very reasonable to not have masks.”

Madden went on to say their district will likely recommend face masks to students and families for their upcoming summer school season.

Mask requirements going away in the fall

As it turns out, a recommendation is the strongest tool at their disposal.

Wednesday afternoon, state lawmakers gathered in a special session and voted in favor of prohibiting schools from establishing mask requirements after this current school year ends.

The mask measure passed the Utah House with a count of 50 voting in favor and 24 against.

Some “no” votes on the Republican side included Representative Raymond Ward, Representative Melissa Ballard and Representative Jon Hawkins.

The item is just one of 22 different issues set to be addressed in the special session.

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