TOOELE, Utah — By a vote of 3-2, the Tooele County Council decided Tuesday night to terminate a health order that would have required masks in schools if certain COVID-19 positive case counts were met.
The health order would have triggered a mask mandate in a school in which two percent of the student body tests positive for the virus in a 14-day period.
In schools with a student body of less than 1,500 students, the requirement would be in place if 30 students tested positive.
The mandate would have only impacted schools that reached either of those thresholds and would have lasted for 30 days.
The discussion lasted for well over an hour and began with emotional public comments from parents on both sides of the issue.
We are talking masks again. This time in Tooele. The county council will debate a health order that could trigger a mask mandate in schools. About 15 people have asked to deliver public comment. pic.twitter.com/uACCdK2GHS— 𝙹𝚘𝚑𝚗 𝙵𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚑𝚒 (@JFRANCHIREPORTS) September 8, 2021
“I won’t force my child to wear it,” said one parent who is against a mask mandate. “I pay taxes and my child goes to a public school. Therefore, I should have the right to say what my child is forced to do.”
But another parent disagreed and countered that allowing the virus to spread without any safety measures takes away her family’s freedom.
“The word freedom is thrown around a lot,” she said. “I would like my child to have the freedom to go to school without a deadly virus affecting her.”
One member who voted against the health order felt the burden of proof fell on the government to prove a mask mandate would limit the spread of the virus in the community. He said the government failed to meet that standard.
Another council member argued the state legislature put the council in a tough position by requiring the local council to make decisions on community health. He felt the council is “out of its lane” in making a decision like this.