SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah Department of Health has released their recommendations for Utah schools to follow this academic year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To combat the spread of COVID-19 in K-12 schools, UDOH is recommending local health departments and schools use a “layered prevention approach” in the upcoming academic year, which includes encouraging vaccination and mask wearing, among other strategies.

That being said, masks will still not be mandated in Utah’s K-12 schools, as the Utah Legislature passed a bill that prevents schools from requiring face masks in the upcoming school year during a special session back in May.

“I strongly encourage parents to consider having their children wear masks in school because Utah is experiencing high transmission levels of COVID-19. Many of our school-aged children are unable to be vaccinated at this time and masks are the next best protection,” she adds

The following are strategies UDOH is recommending for K-12 schools:

  • Encouraging everyone 12 years and older to get vaccinated for COVID-19
  • Wearing a mask when indoors
  • Isolating at home if you test positive for COVID-19
  • Quarantine and other protective measures after a school exposure
  • Testing for COVID-19
  • Staying home when you’re sick
  • Physical distancing and cohorting
  • Improving or increasing indoor ventilation
  • Hygiene practices
  • Cleaning and disinfection

These updated recommendations come days after Utah topped over 1,000 new COVID cases in one 24-hour period for the first time since February, prompting health and government officials to once again urge residents to get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is the best way to keep our children safe and healthy in school and free from the disruptions to their learning and extracurricular activities that Utah experienced last school year.,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist with the UDOH.