SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- Some members of the Utah State Board of Education report they are worried about enforcing masks with kids at school once the state’s mask mandate goes away.
According to a recently passed legislation, the mask mandate is expected to end April 10th or sooner if the state meets certain case metrics. However, masks would still be required for K-12 schools and groups over 50.
Board Member Molly Hart brought up her concerns at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting.
“I’m deeply concerned about enforcing a mask mandate after April 10th, quite honestly. I don’t think that it was considered how that is going to impact schools.”
She continued and said she’s not sure how to strike the balance between kids being mandated to wear a mask at school, but not elsewhere.
“I am deeply concerned about the difference between the two.”
Hart also expressed her fears that once the clock strikes April 1oth, people will ditch their masks.
“I fully expect that students will abandon their mask, I feel like parents will abandon their mask, and I’m not sure what type of guidance the state board will give schools or administrators.”
Board Member Brent Strate agreed.
“I have so many of my students, for example, that work in the restarants and fast food places and I’m going to tell them they have to wear their masks in school?”
Other members disagreed, including State Superintendent Sydnee Dixon who tried to assuage Hart’s concerns saying she believes the Governor and state health leaders will continue to pump the mask-wearing message.
“Angela Dunn and others continue to speak about school mask mandate being in place as well as for gatherings over 50.”
Board member Jennie Earl says transmission in schools has been low and many educators are vaccinated. She argued students would benefit from seeing teachers faces.
Board member Kristan Norton concurred.
“Amen, amen and amen. Even the most compliant are at their breaking point with the masks.”
The board was discussing the recently passed HB 294, the bill setting up parameters for when certain pandemic restrictions end when Hart brouoght up her concerns. The Governor has signaled he will be signing that into law.
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