SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – On Wednesday, as 500,000 masks touched down in a Boeing airplane at Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah’s governor said the masks would be for students and teachers to help schools open safely this Fall.
Sydnee Dickson, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said all school districts in Utah need to submit plans by August to ensure student safety before re-opening. Criteria includes how students move around the school, how close students are to one another during the school day, and respiratory output of students and teachers.
That’s why the masks, which state officials procured with funding from the federal CARES Act, will be so essential.
“We want these students to go back to school in the fall,” said Dickson.
“It’s key. It’s so important for their academic well-being, their mental health, and their growth overall — and we want them to be able to do it in a safe and healthy manner,” she added.
The masks will be free to Utah students, and Wednesday’s delivery includes smaller masks for young children — a bonus for comfort, and for preventing respiratory output.
Gov. Gary Herbert said Wednesday he will consider a request from Grand County to mandate mask wearing in public, but he has not mandated mask wearing statewide. Still, he says, it is essential for Utahns to wear them.
“It’s a way of showing respect for those you associate with — this is not about me, me, me. This is about our neighbors. And if we truly want to show love and consideration and respect for our neighbors, wear the mask,” said Herbert.