Lawmakers discuss investigation into state wide mask for schools

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – State lawmakers in the Education Interim Committee were updated on how the state’s education systems is managing issues related to COVID-19.

The Utah State Board of Eduction laid out ways to improve training, employee retention, compensation and student performance. But a focus of the meeting was the states mask requirements for schools.

Last month, the U.D. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights launched an investigation into whether the Utah State Board of Education could be violating students rights.

The federal education department says the states law that eliminates schools from implementing a mask mandate could amount to discrimination against students with disabilities or health conditions because those students cant safely attend school.

In response to the investigation the State Office of Education says the law is not a state wide ban because local health departments and councils can ultimately issue a mask requirement for their own schools.

“As a principal there is no issue with students wearing masks,” says North West Middle School Andrea Seminario. “It does not matter on the students demographic they are all in school and following the rules and wearing their masks.”

Salt Lake City Council extended its mask mandate for all K through 12 grade students in Salt Lake City School District.

Health officials say numbers show masks are working. Since the start of school there have been 57 new COVID cases per 10,000 population.

In regard to the investigation, the state board of education is working on next steps.

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