Special session update: No masks in Utah schools this fall

May 19, 2021, 11:14 AM | Updated: 6:53 pm
utah legislature meeting special session schools masks...
Utah's State Capitol (photo: Dan Bammes)
(photo: Dan Bammes)

SALT LAKE CITY — Both chambers of the Utah Legislature, meeting in special session Wednesday, voted to prohibit any requirement that students wear masks in schools this fall. The measure, H.B. 1007, passed the Utah Senate in a 23-5 vote with one lawmaker abstaining. 

The item was just one of 22 issues to be addressed in the special session. Budgetary matters, including whether to accept federal pandemic relief funds and how to spend it, topped the agenda. 

No masks in Utah schools this fall

The measure bans both schools and the Utah Board of Education from requiring masks, but a district could still choose to require them if it worked with a local health board or county government. 

Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, sponsored House Bill 1007. He said he hopes it offers kids a sense of normalcy. 

“As we look at this bill, it’s really about the mental health of our students,” he told his fellow lawmakers before it passed. 

Supporters of the bill said if someone is not a direct threat to public health, they shouldn’t have mandates thrust upon them. But critics, like Rep. Melissa Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, called the bill hypocritical and incomplete. 

“The sponsor did mention there was no input given at all from any education leaders,” Ballard pointed out. 

Lawmakers voted 50 to 24 to approve the measure in the House, and 23 to 5 to approve it in the Senate. 

School districts still deciding on masks this year

Tuesday, the Salt Lake City School District announced its schools will require masks through the end of the school year. A number of other districts opted to lift requirements for masks after Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said they could choose to do so last week. 

Lawmakers also passed a resolution banning critical race theory from being taught in Utah’s public schools, with 56 “yeas” and 19 lawmakers abstaining from the vote. House Democrats, making up 17 votes, walked out during the roll call in protest of the resolution. 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

After six years leading USU, and an overall 32 year career with the school, President Noelle E. Coc...
Simone Seikaly

USU President Noelle E. Cockett will step down

USU President Noelle E. Cockett has been part of the college's community for 32 years.
4 months ago
A national survey finds Utah the third safest state when it comes to drunk driving fatalities....
Simone Seikaly

Utah one of the leading states for low levels of drunk driving

SALT LAKE CITY — Forbes Advisor has ranked American states to determine which have the highest number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes. Their results put Utah third in the nation for the lowest rate of drunk driving. The District of Columbia and New Jersey each ranked higher than Utah when considering this data. […]
4 months ago
free transit rides...
Elizabeth Weiler

Free public transit rides come to Heber Valley

HEBER CITY, Utah — In the summer of 2022, Wasatch County Council approved a sales tax which is now providing funding for free public transit rides throughout Heber Valley.  Wasatch County and High Valley Transit entered a three-year, $3 million agreement to offer public bus transit services between Wasatch and Summit Counties, along with micro-transit […]
4 months ago
carbon monoxide poisoning...
Ali Litzinger

Carbon monoxide poisoning on the rise in winter months

SALT LAKE CITY — Winter is approaching and officials want people to know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Last year, nearly 200 Utahns were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.  The flame in a gas appliance should generally be blue, with some orange. If the flame is mostly yellow, it’s giving off excess carbon monoxide.  […]
4 months ago
nichole olsen was shot and killed outside a nightclub in dowtown salt lake city over the weekend....
Elizabeth Weiler

Man arrested for murder in weekend shooting outside nightclub in Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY — A Southern Utah man has been arrested and booked into jail in connection with the shooting death of a Salt Lake City woman over the weekend. Nichole Olsen, 29, was shot and killed outside a nightclub near 300 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City around 2 a.m. Sunday. Police have […]
4 months ago
A “for sale” sign is displayed outside of a house in Layton. 
Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret Ne...
Adam Small

Salt Lake seeing highest drop in home sales, national report finds

Utah's home sales are dropping fast according to a new national report. Prices have dropped by 48% in the last 12 months.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Special session update: No masks in Utah schools this fall