Mask mandate in Utah County schools to continue through June 15 | Education

The “Endgame” law recently signed by Governor Spencer Cox puts the end of the nationwide mask mandate on April 10th. However, there is still some confusion about the differences between the statewide and K-12 school mask mandates.

All three Utah County’s school districts confirmed Tuesday that notices will be sent across the district in the near future to clarify that while the statewide mask mandate will end April 10, the K-12 mask mandate will not end June 15.

An organization called See My Smile has planned protests across the state for April 10th at 4pm. Districts listed on the organization’s website include the Davis County School District, the Murray School District, and the Alpine School District in Utah County. The parents protest the difference between the two dates.

“We understand that there are many different opinions about masks,” said David Stephenson, public affairs administrator for the Alpine School District. “I will say that the school board or a district has no legal authority to change mask exceptions before June 15th. The board of directors, the superintendent, a school principal or a school teacher are not authorized to change the order of the masks. We hope that our community, our parents, and our students understand that we do not have the legal authority to change this, and they will help our schools finish this school year strong. “

The notice from the Alpine School District will be sent out to parents and teachers on Wednesday in hopes of clarifying the end date of the mask mandate for students and emphasizing that the district has no control over it.

Stephenson described the protests as frustrating and stressful teachers and school staff trying to end the 2020-21 school year with a good result.

For the Provo City School District, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator Caleb Price said a note will be sent to parents and students in the next few days about the mask mandate, which will run until June 15.

Something Price raised about the mask mandate is the quarantine guidelines. He added that quarantines are not required if there are people wearing masks involved in an interaction, and said that this continuation of the mandate is also aimed at continuing personal training.

The Provo City School District will survive the school year with the goal of reevaluating the summer semester and the following school year. The school board plans to join other district officials in upcoming board meetings to discuss how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district is currently planning to meet the legal expectations of the state government and the health ministry.

“We understand the worry and the frustrations or whatever leads to these feelings,” Price said of those wanting to return to school without a mask. “We understand and we understand that people have these opinions, but this is from the state. It is a legal thing that we do not have authority to override as a district. That is why we will keep the mandate given to us and work with parents and students to make everything as smooth as possible. “

Lana Hiskey, spokeswoman for the Nebo school district, said a similar message is being sent out across schools across the district to clarify the dates.

“We want to finish the school year really strong, keep our kids in school, and have the activities we have been able to lately,” said Hiskey.

Stephenson said the Alpine School District is looking forward to June 15 in the hope that summer students can go to school without a mask.

“The mask mandate for K-12 schools across the state ends on June 15th. This will affect some of our summer students who will have to wear a mask by that date,” said Stephenson. “We hope that after June 15th the mandate for masks will be dropped if we continue in the summer school.”

He believes the state will stand by that date if the COVID-19 cases look positive, and he also said the district is hopeful to return to school without a mask in the fall.

While the alpine school district could return to normal in terms of masks in the near future, Stephenson said that some changes could be made to the district’s schedule in the fall of 2021.

“We believe the school board can come up with a forward-looking proposal for review,” said Stephenson of the return to the study plan for the next school year. “We could go back to exactly how things were before the pandemic, but I think we’ve learned a lot of different things and we’d like to try to incorporate some of the best practices we’ve learned into the future schedule structure and environment that students learn. “

Some of these things, learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, have helped students learn and made teachers better educators, communicators, and more.

Stephenson also said the district hopes to use what has been learned and potentially change some traditions that have been around for decades.

With hope for the future, districts strive to adhere to statewide regulations set up by the end of the school year and the end of the K-12 mask mandate on June 15.

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