SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City school officials say nearly 100% of students in the district have been wearing masks since classes started last week.
"They are engaged and learning, and that is what we want," said Jason Olsen, a public information officer with the Salt Lake City School District. "Our goal is to keep our schools open and our students healthy and in school."
The high rate of mask-wearing comes after Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a mandate for students in grades K-12. Despite talk over challenging Mendenhall's order by some Utah lawmakers, nothing legally has taken place.
As of Wednesday, 58 students out of a total of 21,473 in the district have contracted COVID-19.
District officials sent a memo to school principals after many had questions about how to enforce the mask mandate. If a student refuses to wear a face covering, principals are being told to withhold discipline.
The memo below was created to help guide principals in policing the mayor's order.
- Place signage throughout district informing individuals of the mayor’s order;
- Offer masks to any individual not wearing a mask;
- In the event of a refusal, inform them of the mayor’s emergency order, advise them of benefits of wearing a mask, advise them that masks are available if they change their mind;
- In every situation, treat individuals with dignity and respect; do not shame, humiliate, or antagonize individuals who will not wear a mask. Our advice should be to inform in a way that does not escalate a situation;
- Maintain the guidance that we will not have volunteers in our schools, but revisit that guidance every 30 days;
- Allow students to access in-person learning, transportation, activities even if an individual refuses to wear a mask, no discipline of employees for refusing to wear a mask;
- Address conduct issues that may arise with students and staff that are distinct from not wearing a mask (e.g. if a teacher humiliates a student for not wearing a mask, we would address that; if a student goes on a disruptive, profane rant, we would address that, etc…);