Debate Over School Mask Mandates Returns At Salt Lake Co. Council Meeting
SALT LAKE CITY — Division over masks returned at a Salt Lake County Council meeting as COVID-19 cases in Utah continue to rise and hospitals reach their ICU capacity.
Parents on both sides voice their opinions during Tuesday’s meeting, which became heated at times, and county health experts said there would be an estimated 60 cases per day in schools, with an average of one child being hospitalized with the virus every other day during the fall.
“Fifty-eight Salt Lake children less than 12 have been hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, who now leads the Salt Lake County Health Department. “Seven of these hospitalizations occurred last month in July and July’s hospitalizations represent 12% of all our hospitalizations throughout the pandemic. It’s the second-highest monthly hospitalizations since November indicating that delta is causing more severe illnesses in our children as well, and we can expect additional hospitalizations.”
Dunn she isn’t talking about a mask mandate in schools because it would be overturned by politicians. But she wants to provide a thorough and clear discussion on children’s safety in the classroom.
Children age 12 and under aren’t eligible to receive a vaccine, but Gov. Spencer Cox announced the state will offer an N95 mask to each Utah student in class.
“I am really tired and really done with it. I’m not really excited to have to protect someone who doesn’t seem to care.” @SpencerJCox candidly talking about being vaccinated and wearing a mask.
Pointing out the vaccinated are wearing 😷 because unvaccinated are spreading Covid.
— Morgan Wolfe (@MorganWolfeKSL) August 3, 2021
Cox also expressed a lot of frustration over people being unwilling to get vaccinated.
“I’m really tired,” Cox said. “I’m really done with it. And I’m not real excited to have to sacrifice to protect someone who doesn’t seem to care. But I’m glad there are some people willing to do that. Thank you.”
The latest recommendation from the Utah Department of Health is students age 12 and older should get vaccinated and students should wear masks when indoors.
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