Summit County issues mask mandate for public and private middle school campuses

Local News

Because of a delivery bottleneck for professional face masks during covid-19 pandemic a lot of people started to organize DIY production of face masks at home. (Getty)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Summit County will require face-coverings for all public and private middle schools campuses in the county beginning Monday, September 27.

The public health order requires face-coverings if any individual campus reaches a two percent 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate among the total number of students, staff, and faculty.

The order, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday will remain in effect until the termination of the Local Public Health Emergency on December 31, 2021.

“Based on the low number of school-associated cases, the data provide evidence this approach is working due to the efforts of students, parents, faculty, and staff,” Summit County Health Director, Dr. Phil Bondurant said. “However, as we watch what has occurred in other middle schools and junior high schools in the state, there is a credible threat of increased COVID-19 transmission in schools where there is an overlap of vaccine eligible and ineligible students.”

This decision comes a week after state lawmakers in the Education Interim Committee met with the Utah State Board of Education to discuss the states mask requirements for schools.

Each middle school campus will be evaluated as separate campuses.

These metrics are identical to those put in place in August for Summit County elementary schools as a way to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.

The approach is based on the “Test to Stay” program outlined in Utah Senate Bill 107 which requires all Summit County schools with 30 active COVID-19 cases over 14 days to implement COVID-19 testing among students for them to return to campus.

“The Summit County Council is encouraged by recent case counts in our schools but felt additional measures were needed as we await vaccines for five through 11-year-olds,” Summit County Council Chair Glenn Wright said.

“Our response remains focused on protecting our county’s vulnerable populations, especially those who cannot yet protect themselves through vaccination,” Wright adds.

To date, no Summit County elementary schools have reached the set threshold which would require masks, according to health officials.

Summit County Health Department leaders say they anticipate vaccines will be approved for students age 5 to 11 before Thanksgiving and are currently planning clinic operations to administer booster shots to those 65 and older.

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