MASK ON: SLC Mayor uses emergency powers to mandate masks in school

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(Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Erin Mendenhall, mayor of Utah’s capital city, will enact emergency powers to mandate masks in K-12 schools within her jurisdiction.

The announcement was made in a statement from the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office on Friday morning.

“As Mayor, it is my responsibility to do everything I can to keep our City, and our school district, from going down the tragic and dangerous path many others are already on,” the statement reads, before continuing with the announcement.

“Today I will use my emergency powers to order that masks be worn in K-12 schools in our City,” Mendenhall states.

“I look forward to lifting this requirement when we reach safer levels of transmission and immunity. We will continue to work with health officials and rely on them to help us determine when the order can be lifted.”

Mendenhall’s move comes days after she declared in a city council meeting she would implement her own mandate after seeking legal counsel and support from the school board.

Earlier on Friday, the Salt Lake City School District expressed its gratitude to Mendenhall for her willingness to enact a mask mandate in the city, despite obstacles preventing one from being instituted at the county and state levels.

“The Salt Lake City School District would like to thank Mayor Mendenhall for her unwavering concern for the health and safety of our students during this ongoing pandemic. Our students’ health and well-being have always been and remain our priority,” the school district’s statement on Friday reads. “We recognize that individuals across the country have varying ideas and opinions on the issue of mask mandates. Nevertheless, the district firmly believes that wearing masks decreases the spread of the COVID-19 virus and is convinced that our mask-wearing guidelines implemented during the last school year were critical to allowing our schools to remain open.”

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