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First COVID-19 cases reported in Utah schools this year

Posted at 7:48 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 10:18:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 cases are already popping up in Utah schools during the first week of classes for many.

As of 7:00 a.m. Friday, the Utah COVID-19 dashboard shows Davis School District has eight cases.

Jordan and Washington school districts both have nine, Salt Lake County private schools have 13 cases, and the Granite School District has 16 cases.

READ: Salt Lake City introduces new virtual elementary school

The director of communications for Granite School District says they recommend masks whether students are vaccinated or not, and expect there will be more transmission on campus since masks usage is not consistent with everyone on campus.

Doctor Erin Avondet with the American Academy of Pediatrics says this is concerning and something pediatricians are watching closely right now.

"I can't make a full prediction of what that is going to look like obviously. My hope is that the response will be swift," said Dr. Avondet.

Right now, the Grand County School district is the only one in Utah with a mask mandate.

In Salt Lake City, Mayor Mendenhall asked the school board this week if they want her to institute a mandate.

This morning, the school board responded with a statement saying they will not recommend a mask mandate.

"The district firmly believes that wearing masks decreases the spread of the COVID-19 virus and is convinced that our mask-wearing guidelines implemented during the last school year were critical to allowing our schools to remain open. We will continue our current practice of strongly encouraging all students, employees, and visitors to wear masks in our schools and buildings."

The school board went on to say,

"Mayor Mendenhall has recently indicated her willingness to institute a mask mandate to protect the students in our district. We recognize that the mayor has broad powers, independent of the board of education, under the Disaster Response and Recovery Act to address local emergencies and disasters affecting the city. Accordingly, we will await the mayor’s decision on whether she will issue an executive order."

Salt Lake City schools start on Tuesday.