Governor ends state mask mandate for schools for the last week of instruction

FILE - High school students at school, wearing N95 Face masks. Teenage boy sitting at the school desk, looking away and thinking.

Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday that because of the low case rates and how well the fight against COVID-19 is going in Utah, the statewide mask mandate for school children will end the last week of school.

“Whatever your last week of school is, starting Monday of the last week, there will be no statewide requirement for masks in schools that last week,” Gov. Cox exclaimed. “It will give kids an opportunity to see their teachers, to see their friends, to spend that week together without masks, if they so choose.”

A response from the Cache County School District said “This means that masks will no longer be required, but are still optional for all Cache County School District students and adults beginning on May 24.”

The Logan City School District will be following suit. “Our last day with required masks will be May 21,” the Logan District said in an email sent to students, parents and staff. “Please know that any students, staff, or patrons visiting our schools who wish to continue wearing masks are encouraged to do so.”

Also during his weekly news conference, the governor said there is nothing that says people can’t be incentivized to get vaccinated, after learning Ohio is conducting drawings for a million dollars for all who have been vaccinated.

“This is something I am very interested in,” Gov. Cox said. “We actually had several conversations prior to Ohio’s announcement yesterday, about ways we could incentive people to do that. This is one of the ideas that was floated out there.

“Now, I recognize that we don’t have raffles or gambling in the state of Utah. And I want to be very clear that this is not that.”

The Utah Health Department Thursday reported six deaths caused by COVID-19; three of them occurred prior to April 13, 2021. Utah’s coronavirus fatalities over the course of the pandemic now total 2,255.

The state also reported there were 418 new positive COVID-19 cases statewide, 21 of them from northern Utah. There have been 21,659 positive cases in Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties.

Since the start of the pandemic among the total positive cases in Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties, 21,255 of those cases have been declared “recovered”. Most of the cases were found in Cache County (16,101) followed by Box Elder County (5,391) and Rich County (151). To date in the Bear River Health District there have been 897 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 100 coronavirus deaths.

The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 328 a day. The rolling seven-day average for percent positivity of “people over people” remains at 6.7 percent. The rolling seven-day average for percent positivity of “tests over tests” is still 3.6 percent.

In Idaho 2,064 residents have lost their lives to the virus and there are 189,586 confirmed coronavirus cases. In the three southeast Idaho counties case counts include 1,184 positive cases in Franklin County, 382 in Bear Lake County and 362 in Oneida County.

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