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Summit County Council Sets Special Meeting To Extend Elementary School Mask Mandate

Summit County Health Department

The Summit County Council is holding a special meeting Monday afternoon to consider extending an emergency health order that would allow a mask mandate in the county’s elementary schools.   

The council’s resolution would extend the health order to the end of calendar year 2021.

The Council is meeting at 3 p.m., at the Ledges Event Center in Coalville, with the meeting also available on Zoom.

The resolution notes that on August 21st, the county health director and county manager declared a Local Public Health Emergency and issued an Order of Constraint.  Those say that face coverings are required if any elementary school campus reaches a 2 percent 14-day positivity rate among the total number of students, staff and faculty.

The resolution says that an emergency is persisting, with Summit County designated as a High Level Transmission area.

The August 21st Order had a duration of 30 days.

Summit County Council Chair Glenn Wright told KPCW the special meeting is necessary because the county has to decide about an extension of the order before it expires.        

“The state gave the County Council 30 days, at which sometime in that 30 days we could have rejected the restriction order, or extended it.    It was a 30-day order.   And if it expired, it expired, and there was nothing else we could do about it.”

KPCW asked if the council will take public input at the meeting.     Wright said comments could be allowed, if a majority of the council support it.     But he said he’s not inclined to be in favor.   

“We’re not required to have a public hearing on it.    Could we do so?   I think we’ve heard significant amounts of comment on this particular issue, both for an against it—certainly a lot of comments against it that said we should eliminate the order.   A significant amount of comment in August that what we proposed was not strong enough, that it should have been a complete mask ban, not a triggered mask ordinance.   So, I think we’ve heard fairly significant comments.  I don’t anybody’s gonna change their mind.”

Wright said at the Monday meeting, they are only scheduled to consider extending the mask mandate with the two percent metric.     He said that, personally, he favors a mask order for grades K through 12.    But he doesn’t know if the county could consider that later on.     

“Could we do something else?   I have no idea.    That is a legal argument.  Could we do something different?  Is the health director interested in doing something different?  Those are two issues that are beyond my ability to answer.”

Summit County Council Chair Glenn Wright.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.