SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 20, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced she will use her emergency powers to order that masks be worn in K-12 schools in Salt Lake City.
A statement from the mayor says: “Our school board is a locally elected governing body charged with making educational and safety decisions for our district’s children.
“Unfortunately, and despite all the evidence that masks protect children and the adults who care for them, this issue has become politicized to the point that elected bodies across the country, and in the state of Utah, worry about retribution if they take a public stand as an organization.
“I’ve heard personally from a majority of the board’s members who’ve privately told me they want me to issue this order. While acting without an official position of the board is not my preferred path, hanging in the balance of this decision is the health of the our children, our community and our healthcare workers.
“As Mayor it is my responsibility to do everything I can to keep our city, and our school district, from going down the tragic and dangerous path many others are already on.
“Today I will use my emergency powers to order that masks be worn in K-12 schools in our city.
“I look forward to lifting this requirement when we reach safer levels of transmission and immunity. We will continue to work with health officials and rely on them to help us determine when the order can be lifted.”
Mendenhall on Tuesday asked the Salt Lake City School Board to put a mandatory mask order in place for school children in the city, stating if the board didn’t she would.
“My #1 concern is the health of unvaccinated children who are about to gather in school,” Mendenhall wrote in a short tweet issued at 3:51 p.m. Tuesday.
“Today I asked the SLC School Board to determine if they support a requirement for life-saving masks in schools. Pending that support, I’m prepared to put an order in place for our district.”
The message follows an attempt last week by Dr. Angela Dunn, Salt Lake County Health Department executive director, to put in place a mask mandate order for school children in the county. That attempt was thwarted by a vote by the Salt Lake County Council to oppose the order.