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Park City students walk out of class to protest Utah Legislature

Posted at 12:31 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 19:13:08-05

PARK CITY, Utah — Over 100 students at Park City High School walked out of class Thursday to protest the Utah Legislature's efforts to overturn mask mandates.

POLL: Do you support the legislature's efforts to overturn mask mandates?

Photos showed the students, who were all masked, congregating outside the school while listening to several students talk about the mandate issue.

The students are angered over a resolution passed Tuesday in the Utah State Senate which would overturn the mandates in Summit County, where Park City is located, along with Salt Lake County. The Utah House has yet to take up the resolution.

"These actions by the state legislature are unacceptable and put Park City's and Utah's population at risk," a video showed one student saying over a megaphone.

Senior Luis Alvarez wasn’t in that protest, but he does think the school should offer remote learning again.

“No, no one even wears them. No one really cares. We’re almost at 200 positive cases and we still haven’t shut down. I think it’s important for us because we’re the ones coming here every day and risking the fact that we could get sick at any moment,” said Luis Alvarez.

Senior Giselle Zarco agrees, while at home learning is difficult for other reasons, she thinks students should have the choice.

“Yeah, I believe we should shut down, not because we wanna get out of school but because there’s so many cases but even if we’re in school, there’s no doubt that we can still get covid,” said Giselle Zarco.

Park City student protest

KPCW Radio reports about 20% of the school had tested positive for COVID-19 before state officials paused the Test-to-Stay program last week due to the lack of supplies needed during the omicron surge in Utah.

Students oppose state legislature’s recent effort to remove Summit County’s current mask mandate. But many students want to take it a step further and have remote learning as an option again.

Some students spoke at a school board meeting two days ago, telling the board what its really like inside the school

“Kids are walking around in bunches with their mask down proud that they have their mask down,” said Chris Henry, student.

Here’s what one substitute teacher had to say at that same meeting.

“First of all, let me just say I am in favor of in person learning, I just see the kids that are doing the virtual I think overall they’re falling behind and they’re never gonna catch up and that’s what I see with kids in tutoring and that are in school,” said Ronald Allen, Substitute Teacher at Park City High School.

Park City High School protest sign
A sign in a Park City High School bathroom gives details on the planned protest.

The school district acknowledges it’s a controversial topic.

They wouldn’t go on camera, but they said they were aware of the protest, and it was peaceful and short.

They say last week during the emergency meeting, the board ultimately decided the benefit of in-person outweighs the risk.

“I think it’s important that we all have a say in this, I think because were young people think we don’t have a say, but I think it’s a good thing we were all able to protest,” said Zarco.

The Utah House has yet to take up the resolution to overturn the mask mandate.