HEALTH

Salt Lake mayor signs order requiring mask for K-12 students in SLC district

Aug 20, 2021, 11:18 AM | Updated: 5:21 pm
mayor mendenhall on mask order salt lake city...
(Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, left, discusses emergency rental assistance during a press conference outside of the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 15, 2021. Annie Barker, Deseret News)
(Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, left, discusses emergency rental assistance during a press conference outside of the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 15, 2021. Annie Barker, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she has signed an order requiring masks for K-12 schools.

Listen to the announcement below:

Earlier on Friday, the Mayor said Friday she would use her emergency powers to issue a mask order for K-12 schools in Salt Lake City. 

She posted the announcement to Twitter. 

Earlier in the morning, the Salt Lake City School District issued a statement indicating the schools planned to wait to see what the mayor wanted to do, rather than take action themselves. In part, the statement from SLCSD spokesman Jason Olsen said: 

The district recognizes that the mayor has broad powers, independent of the board of education, under the Disaster Response and Recovery Act to address local emergencies and disasters affecting the city. Accordingly, we will await the mayor’s decision on whether she will issue an executive order.

Salt Lake mayor: Board members want her to issue mask order

The announcement about the mask order from Mendenhall indicated some members of the Salt Lake City School Board wanted her to act. 

“I’ve heard personally from a majority of the Board’s members who’ve privately told me they want me to issue this order,” she wrote in a letter shared with the tweet. “While acting without an official position of the board is not my preferred path, hanging in the balance of this decision is the health of our children, our community, and our healthcare workers.” 

Both the Salt Lake City Council and the school board need to approve Mendenhall’s emergency order before a mask mandate would take effect. However, the Utah Legislature can review the order through a committee called at any time. They would need to call a special session before overturning the mayor’s order, within 30 days. 

Earlier this month, Salt Lake County Health Department Executive Director Dr. Angela Dunn issued a public health order for schools requiring mask-wearing for K-6 students. The Salt Lake County Council overturned that public health order. Today’s announcement from the Salt Lake City mayor, which requires mask-wearing for schools K-12 in Salt Lake City, affects far fewer schools, but includes older students. 

This story will be updated. 


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 mayor signs order requiring mask for K-12 students in SLC district