While the state of Utah will lift mask requirements for schools on the last week of class, some schools are getting a head start. Students and teachers at Morgan County School District started taking their face coverings off on Wednesday.
“It’s been kind of a progressive move to this,” Gwen Romero told ABC4. She works as the school district’s public information officer and teaches English at Morgan High School.
She explained that a month ago, the Morgan County School District loosened the enforcement of it mask requirements on campus. For example, teachers no longer singled students out for not wearing a face covering. Then, on Tuesday night, eight people showed up to the board meeting to talk about lifting the mask requirement entirely.
After some discussion, the board voted on the issue. In a 2-3 vote, the board changed the requirement to a recommendation effective Wednesday.
“I think most people are kind of relieved,” said Romero. “We’ve had really low numbers up here for a long time. We’ve been testing hundreds of kids every week with our extracurricular programs, and we really haven’t had positive rates up here for a long time.”
According to the Weber-Morgan Health Department’s website, there are currenlty only 10 active cases of COVID-19 in Morgan.
Romero told ABC4 low infection rates is not the only reason for the decision. “I think most people up here were just ready to transition back.” she stated. “It’s not so much controversial that way.”
While many people wanted the change, Romero said some teachers wanted masks to stay until the end of the year out of precaution.
She said other staff and students wanted to keep the mask requirement because they have high-risk family members. She told ABC4 that those staff and students could continue wearing their face coverings on school grounds. However, Romero pointed out the students who are still using masks only account for about 5% of the students she teaches.
Romero said Thursday’s announcement that the state will allow schools to choose to get rid of their mask requirements on the final week of class brings some relief to the district after the board’s vote on Tuesday. “I think it validates their decision, ultimately,” she added.
Romero told ABC4 the school district is thankful for the governor giving more decision power over to the schools and parents when it comes to mask requirements on campus.