‘A mask is much easier than a ventilator’: Parents react to Grand County High School closure

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — COVID-19 cases in school-age children continue to rise in Utah.

Grand County High School announced it has to close down for a week because of it.

Some school districts are getting ready to implement their test to stay protocols, which has some parents on edge.

Some are urging mask mandates in schools while others believe it is in their child’s best interest to stay in school.

“I think a mask is much easier than a ventilator,” said Beth Adams.

Since the 2020-2021 school year began in Utah, more than 1,700 students have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

This is according to the Utah Department of Health, which also notes the age group 12-18 is the least vaccinated group in the state and those under 12 are still not eligible yet for a vaccine.

“We have all these variants and breakthrough cases we still are not on top of COVID, so anything we can do to get it under control I am all for it,” says Adams.

School districts around the state have different plans from 30 days mask mandates, to test to stay protocols, to no Covid rules in place. 

Grand County High School is off all next week due to COVID-19 cases in teachers and students.

The district said there aren’t enough substitutes to fill in which is why they are shut down.

Alpine School district has two schools close to implementing the test-to-stay protocols, Willowcreek and Cedar Valley High School.

“We are obviously watching that very closely and are preparing for the possibility of a test to stay which is in the legislative code which would take place at the school and the Utah Department of Health would come in and test students,” said Alpine School District Spokesperson David Stephenson.

Students younger than 12 are relying on their parents and adults to make decisions for them regarding Covid precautions like masking.

“I think when it comes to masks, it needs to be a personal decision,” said Athena Burtchin.

Burtchin has a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old.

She said the school districts should leave it up to the parents.

“We are supposed to live in America,” said Burtchin. “We are supposed to be free and we are supposed to be able to do what we want and if I don’t want to wear a mask and if my kid does not want to wear a mask and cries about it because it makes him uncomfortable I am not going to make him do that.”

Alpine School District said, for example, if the COVID-19 threshold is met at any of its schools, all parents will be notified.

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