SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council will vote to potentially override a mask mandate for students 12 and under Thursday.
Salt Lake County Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Angela Dunn’s recommendation came Tuesday.
Dr. Dunn argues mandatory masking for kindergarten through 6th grade is the best way to protect kids and ensure classes remain in person.
“I’m going to vote to overturn it,” said Salt Lake County Council Chair Steve DeBry.
DeBry believes parents should have the only say on their child being in school. He also says when children do wear a mask, it's often worn incorrectly.
“I don’t think the masks for that age group has the efficacy we really need. Even if it did, it’s more of a Bandaid and not the solution to coming out of the pandemic,” DeBry said.
Three others publicly oppose the mask mandate for young children.
David Alvord wrote on Facebook he “agrees with health department recommendations, except mandate of masks K-6. Should be parental decision.”
“I don’t believe a mask mandate is the right solution right now because COVID is such a low risk for kids in this age group,” wrote Aimee Winder Newton.
“For now the evidence does not warrant heavy handed government intervention…Every parent has the right to choose what is best for their child,” wrote Dea Theodore.
It could take just one more opposing vote to overturn the order.
“We have recommendations from medical experts, why is it a question whether it to follow it or not,” Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews said.
The Utah Teacher’s Association strongly encourages council members to keep the mask mandate. The school mask order would take effect next week unless the county council votes to overturn it.
“With the part of mind in keeping our kids and adults in the schools, safe and healthy so we can have in person school, that we have continuous learning, that we are not putting our children at risk,” said Matthews.
The council will consider the mask mandate Thursday at 2:00 p.m.