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Gov. Gary Herbert speaks at a press briefing July 16, 2020
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Herbert Announces Adjustment To Allow All Schools To Reopen; Mask Mandate Remains In Place

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday said it’s “imperative” that Utah opens its schools for fall, and announced a modification to the state’s color-coded plan to allow for all schools to reopen in August.

Schools in Salt Lake City would have had to remain closed as long as the city was in its orange phase. Herbert said an adjustment will be made to the order that will allow the Salt Lake City School District to provide in-person instruction.

The decision on how to move forward with in-person classes will be up to the district, Herbert said.

Gov. Herbert, state health officials hold COVID-19 update

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Posted by KSL 5 TV on Thursday, July 16, 2020

The mask mandate for all Utah K-12 schools remains in place. Herbert said there will be some “common sense” exceptions in cases of disabilities and other considerations.

Masks will be provided to all students, he said.

“We want the safest environment possible for students, teachers and faculty,” the governor said. “Many teachers and administrators are grateful for this requirement.”

“Please show each other a little grace right now so that we can better work together to do what is in the best interest of our students or teachers and everyone involved,” he added. “These are challenging times, and education leaders are under a lot of stress to create a safe space.”

Lexi Cunningham, director of the State Superintendents Associations, said school districts are providing choices for online or in-person instruction. She noted that plans will differ from district to district.

“Every school is concerned about the social and emotional wellbeing of students and teachers,” she said. “We applaud the collaborative efforts among school districts, which are sharing good ideas with one another.”

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