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Summit County Health Department Concerned About Some Back-to-School Scenarios

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With school beginning next week for students throughout Summit County, health officials are worried about communities where vaccination rates are low. 

Summit County’s overall COVID vaccination numbers are double those of Wasatch County, and double statewide rates. But the county rates of vaccination vary widely among school districts, and that has health officials worried.

Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough said patterns of COVID cases in the county point to increased risks in some communities.

“North summit, I'll just be real, real honest, that is my primary concern," he said. "Their uptake has not been very good among children 12 to 15 years old. And, you know, right now they're they're not really driving our county cases. Cases on the east side are about the same as they are on the west side per capita. But there's been times recently where the cases on the east side of the county have been about three times higher than the west side. And that almost certainly is partly due to lower rates of vaccine uptake, especially in North Summit. So for me, that's my primary concern is North Summit School District and what that looks like when they reconvene.”

He said South Summit County vaccination rates are not bad, and that the health department is already working closely with all school districts to minimize risks.

“We've met with all three superintendents, Phil Bondurant and I did and many other members of the team and talked through the process of what this year looks like," Bullough said. "You know, we're providing additional resources to try to allow them to manage as best they can. You know, again, it's right now it's up to them.”

Summit County is averaging three-four new COVID cases daily; Bullough said that local case counts do not yet support a need for a mask mandate. He said the health department is monitoring COVID in the county and putting plans in place should fall bring a new wave of cases.