Utah Health Department Recommends Masks for K-12 Students Going Back To School
The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) on Tuesday released recommendations for K-12 schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Utah Department of Health recommends local health departments and schools use what it calls a layered prevention approach, including encouraging vaccination and mask-wearing.
According to Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the state health department, doing so can help minimize the disruptions of COVID-19 on schools while maximizing opportunities for children to participate in in-person learning and extracurricular activities.
For those in grades K- 12, the department encourages everyone 12 years and older to get vaccinated and wear a mask when indoors. Other reccomendations include: isolate at home if you test positive; quarantine and take other protective measures after a school exposure; stay home when sick; physical distance; improve or increase indoor ventilation; and continue with hygiene practices including cleaning and disinfection.
The recommendations were developed after extensive discussion and input from stakeholders including local school administrators, local health officers, the Utah Education Association, parents, physicians, locally elected officials, the state legislature, and the Governor’s office.
Local health departments and local education agencies will work together, using local data, to identify which recommended quarantine and protective measures are used to protect the health of students and school staff in their area. Recommendations could be different across the state.
Parents and school staff who have questions about how COVID-19 will be handled in schools or at extracurricular activities should contact their local health departments or schools for more information.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available to anyone 12 and older.