GOVERNMENT

Masks-in-schools debate is on the special session agenda

May 18, 2021, 8:57 AM | Updated: 5:08 pm
FILE PHOTO (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)...
FILE PHOTO (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature is set to tackle the question of face-mask requirements for schools during a special session set for Wednesday morning. 

Special session has masks in schools on the agenda

Gov. Spencer Cox said the issue of face masks in schools is on a list of 21 other items that lawmakers will consider.

The decision to review state policy comes less than a week after Cox made a change to the existing state mandate.

“We will be ending the statewide mask mandate for schoolchildren for the last week of school,” Cox said Thursday during a press conference. “There will be no statewide requirement for masks in schools that last week. It’ll give kids an opportunity to see their teachers [and] to see their friends.”

Part of that announcement was that local districts can choose to continue with the previous mandate if they wish.

Banning mask requirements in schools through the fall?

Putting the issue on the special session agenda opens the door for the Legislature to possibly add a more permanent ban to mask requirements in schools going forward.

Senate President Stuart Adams said one possible outcome is having mask requirements in schools eliminated through at least the fall.

“It’s been kind of a contentious issue,” he told the Deseret News. “Fatality rates are plummeting and hopefully becoming nonexistent, and the vaccines seem to be working. So we need to take the contention away from masks.”

The special session of the Legislature is set to begin Wednesday morning at 9:30. 

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Masks-in-schools debate is on the special session agenda