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Summit County will require masks in elementary schools that reach 2% positivity rate

Virus Outbreak Austria School Start
Posted at 4:01 PM, Aug 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-21 18:12:13-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Masks will be required in Summit County elementary schools that reach a certain COVID-19 case percentage threshold.

According to a public health order announced Saturday, the requirement will go into effect if any elementary school in the county reaches a 14-day positivity rate of 2 percent among students, faculty and staff.

READ: SLC mayor orders masks be worn in schools for grades K-12

The order was issued by Dr. Phil Bondurant, the county's health director.

“We recognize there are very strong opinions on both sides of the mask discussion,” Bondurant said in the announcement. “Ultimately, I want to provide the safest, healthiest learning environment in Summit County schools for the upcoming school year while allowing for parental choice."

The order includes elementary schools in the Park City, North Summit and South Summit school districts.

While state law allows county councils to override health departments' school mask mandates (as the Salt Lake County Council did last week), the Summit County Council supports the order.

“The Summit County Council is committed to taking any necessary action available to us within the confines of the law to proactively protect students this school year,” Summit County Council Chair Glenn Wright said. “We support Dr. Bondurant’s approach and do not currently intend to consider termination of this Public Health Order. This course of action was taken after careful consideration of the county’s legal authorities and recent public input.”

READ: Grand County announces indoor mask requirement for K-6 students

Bondurant, the county council and the county manager consulted with the Utah State Board of Education and the Summit County Attorney's Office to make sure the order is "lawful and legally enforceable."

County officials said the 2-percent threshold was determined based on Utah's "Test to Stay" program.

The order goes into effect Wednesday and will be reviewed after 30 days.