ALL NEWS

“No mask ban in Utah,” say state lawmakers after launch of investigation

Aug 30, 2021, 5:56 PM
mask ban in Utah...
FILE: Sydnee Dickson, state superintendent of public instruction, speaks during a COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office is investigating Utah’s mask laws and whether they amount to discrimination against K-12 students with disabilities or health conditions. But some state lawmakers say Utah doesn’t have a masking ban, and the federal agency’s investigation is government overreach.

The Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office sent a letter to State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson. In it, they argued that Utah’s mask laws discriminate against students with disabilities or other health conditions. They said a masking ban in schools prevents those students from safely returning to school.

RELATED: Legislation would limit governor’s emergency powers

“It’s simply unacceptable that state leaders are putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

“The department (of education) will fight to protect every student’s right to access in-person learning safely.”

Utah Sen. Evan Vickers, who co-sponsored Utah’s law on masks, said there’s no mask ban in Utah.

“We have not banned masks across the state,” Vickers told KSL Newsradio’s Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson. “We do have a process in place that can implement that,” he argues.

RELATED:  Salt Lake County Council overturns K-6 mask mandate

Utah law bans school districts from requiring masks but allows county and city health departments to issue health orders, like a mask mandate, with approval from elected officials. Those officials are city or county councils, or a county commission that can extend or overturn a health order after 30 days. The state legislature can also step in.

Vickers said the feds haven’t reached out to learn what Utah’s policies are.

“It certainly is federal overreach,” Vickers said. “And federal overreach without clarification.”

Utah Sen.  Todd Weiler told the Dave and Dujanovic show he, too, sees this as overreach. 

“I think that this is a real stretch from the federal government trying to force states to bow to their will,” he said.   

RELATED: Utah lawmakers question school mask mandate for K-12 kids

State Superintended Sydnee Dickson told Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News, she’s responded to the letter from the Department of Education.

“Just letting them know that they are erroneously indicating that we have a statewide mask ban, which is not correct. Our legislature has passed that on to local health authority and to locally-elected government,” she said.

“They just have a misunderstanding of what our state law is about.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023, in this picture obtained ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says

The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, a US official said Saturday.
16 hours ago
The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
16 hours ago
SLCPD said the driver is fully cooperating with the investigation and the children received non-lif...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD makes arrest connected to fatal stabbing case

SLCPD announced the arrest of 26-year-old Ivy Chase Grant today. Grant was booked into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of obstruction of justice. 
16 hours ago
Troy Dunn, founder of the Location Foundation, appears on an episode of Dr. Phil. Photo credit: Des...
Mark Jones

Locator Foundation working to reunite loved ones with one another

The Locator Foundation is working to reunite family members who have become separated from one another and haven't been able to reconnect.
2 days ago
Martin Gold, a visiting scholar with the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, says the Filibuster is critical...
Mark Jones

Filibuster is critical if country is to maintain compromise, expert says

A visiting scholar to the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation told Inside Sources Friday how important the filibuster is to compromise.
2 days ago
Two hands holding a green plant by the soil above empty pots...
Michelle Lee

Transplanting houseplants? Here are some tips!

SALT LAKE CITY – If you’re growing houseplants, there’s something you need to be familiar with, and that is transplanting. Transplanting houseplants is something you have to do every so often, depending on the type of plant. “Some houseplants will go for several years without needing it, and others need to be transplanted at least […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
“No mask ban in Utah,” say state lawmakers after launch of investigation