SALT LAKE COUNTY (ABC4) – The Salt Lake County Health Department has announced that it will seek to issue a mask mandate for children under 12 in Salt Lake County schools.

The decision of whether or not to implement the mask mandate is now in the hands of the Salt Lake County Council.

Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department Dr. Angela Dunn made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday afternoon alongside Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, who affirmed Dunn’s decision.

“I am focused on those who are ineligible for vaccination and have no other way to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19.” said Dunn.

Wilson said she hopes the county council is able to vote on this decision as soon as possible.

“I’ll be honest, I’m heartbroken that we’re here as our kids are close to entering school; some will be entering next week and we know that there are entering sadly at a time where the delta variant is very very aggressive,” said Wilson.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall released a statement asking Salt Lake County Council members to support Dr. Dunn’s decision to require masks in Salt Lake County schools, saying in part, “I respectfully request that if Dr. Dunn determines masks are necessary in K-12 schools, you support her recommendation knowing that it comes from an extensive evaluation of scientific data and is the best strategy to protect our children who are so vulnerable at this time.”

Although no statewide mask mandate is set to be issued, Gov. Cox announced that the Utah Government would provide a KN95 and N95 mask to every school-aged child who wants one.

According to the governor, these masks will be made available to all schools in Utah, and each school will also have funds to purchase masks.

The Utah Department of Health reported 634 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday as teachers and schools get ready for the start of the new school year.