Mask requirement in Salt Lake County elementary schools to be voted on Thursday

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Salt Lake County Council is deciding the fate of masks in schools Thursday.

Dr. Angela Dunn, director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, and county leaders, including Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, finalized a proposal Wednesday that said school children under 12 must wear masks in indoor settings

Most of the Salt Lake County Council members have expressed their thoughts about this proposed mask mandate in schools on social media.

Many of them are against it.

The legislation put forth by Dr. Dunn and company said school children under the age of 12 need to wear masks in schools because they are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine yet.

The order says, “the Executive Director concludes that requiring students to wear masks in the school setting will help mitigate further widespread transmission of COVID-19 and keep the youngest students and their families safe.”

Dr. Brian Moench, the board president for the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said this proposed mask mandate will help kids breathe cleaner air in school.

“Masks have been clearly shown to be an important means of protecting public health through all age groups, so yes, absolutely we would support that,” said Dr. Moench.

There are nine council members, and from their posts including chairman DeBry, four of them have said they plan to vote against it. 

The Utah Education Association said it is urging state leaders to prioritize public health measures in response to a surge in COVID cases.

Dr. Moench said not only do masks make sense in the classroom, but they should install air purifiers in every classroom.

“Allowing kids an atmosphere of cleaner air helps them think better, helps them learn better, and helps their brain development,” said Moench.

School boards do not get a say in this official decision.

If the Salt Lake County Council passes this proposal for masks in grades K-6, it will then go to the state legislature. 

This special meeting is Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Salt Lake County Government Building.

It is the only thing on the agenda.

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