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Salt Lake County Council likely to overturn mask mandate, chair says

Aug 11, 2021, 2:30 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm
could county officials overturn school mask mandate covid children utah...
A teacher wearing a mask instructs her students, also wearing masks and sitting socially distantanced from one another, during class at Antelope Canyon Elementary on Aug 31, 2020. (Doug Flagler, Jordan School District)
(Doug Flagler, Jordan School District)

SALT LAKE CITY — The chair of the Salt Lake County Council expects that body to overturn a mask mandate for students under age 12 issued by the county health department as soon as Thursday afternoon. 

In an interview with Utah’s Morning News on KSL Newsradio, council Chair Steve DeBry said he thinks council members will vote to overturn the mask mandate from Salt Lake County Health Department Executive Director Dr. Angela Dunn when the council meets Thursday afternoon. 

“There’s a very small chance that somebody in that age group would contract the virus, and I just don’t think the benefits outweigh the risks and the problems that we’d have trying to mask up the little kids in that age group,” DeBry said. 

While young children seem to be less at risk for COVID-19 generally, and for hospitalization and death specifically, their risk is not zero. As of Wednesday, 336 children between the ages of 1 and 14 had been hospitalized in Utah because of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to data available on the state’s coronavirus website

In announcing the mask mandate for children under age 12 in school, Dunn said she believes in-person learning is best for students, and this is the best way she knows of to protect children who can’t yet get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Under state law, Dunn and the health department can determine the need for a mandate, but elected local and state officials can overrule any mandate. 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, 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.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • 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).
  • Obtain a flu shot.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

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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Salt Lake County Council likely to overturn mask mandate, chair says