Gov. Cox: No Statewide Mask Mandate For Last Week Of School
May 13, 2021, 11:16 AM | Updated: 11:46 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Spencer Cox announced the statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools will end for a school’s final week this academic year.
Cox made the announcement during his weekly COVID-19 press conference on Thursday, saying it will allow students and teachers to see and speak with one another before the school year ends.
Districts and schools will still be allowed to enforce a mask mandate if they feel COVID-19 is spreading in a school.
“We believe that this is the right thing to do,” Cox said. “We believe that this is the prudent thing to do but I will say that masks are still encouraged and families and children will be able to make those decisions.”
“I think about kids in elementary school that haven’t been able to see their teacher’s face and their friends’ faces—that stuff matters. It’s really important,” Cox said. “We also have seen cases coming down and that was important as well that we’re not seeing the type of community spread that we had in the past.”
During the same press conference, the deputy director of the Utah Department of Health gave her advice.
”As a pediatrician, I would encourage every parent to send their child to school in a mask,” Dr. Michelle Hofmann said. “I also encourage every adult to still wear a mask.”
The governor said masks are still encouraged and he asked Utahns to respect local authorities’ decisions.
Most public health orders in the state ended on May 4, when the requirements set forth in Utah’s COVID-19 “endgame” bill were met.
However, the mask mandate for K-12 schools remained in effect.
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) May 13, 2021
The Utah Department of Health issued State Public Health Order 2021-11 on May 4, which required “continued, routine testing of participants in high school sports and other extracurricular activities and also requires face coverings to be worn in K-12 schools.”
It was originally scheduled to end June 15 or the last day of a school’s academic year, whichever came first.