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Nearly 100% of Salt Lake City students wearing masks, officials say

Salt Lake City School Masks
Posted at 12:58 PM, Sep 01, 2021

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.

WATCH: Education Department opens investigation over Utah's mask restrictions

"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.

LIVE DATA: Find the COVID-19 cases at your child's school

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.

READ: Cox considered issuing executive order to allow for school mask requirement

The memo below was created to help guide principals in policing the mayor's order.

  1. Place signage throughout district informing individuals of the mayor’s order;
  2. Offer masks to any individual not wearing a mask;
  3. 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;
    1. 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;
  4. Maintain the guidance that we will not have volunteers in our schools, but revisit that guidance every 30 days;
  5. 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;
  6. 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…);