Schools decide on regulations for masks and vaccinesSep 09, 2021 10:39AM ● By Bridget Raymundo
By Bridget Raymundo | [email protected]
As with many other regular practices in the community, schools have had to re-evaluate the way they run to promote a safe and welcome environment for staff and students. The entire process is difficult enough as a school board, but add in the parental desires for involvement in these school decisions and the big picture can get chaotic quickly.
A major controversy in schools during the pandemic are the face masks which students have been required to wear properly in the past and have become optional as of the current school year. Masks are still encouraged by the health officials and especially in public areas like schools which are a breeding ground for the spread of the coronavirus. The disease is confirmed by the Utah government and others to be spread through respiratory particles which means the use of masks (depending on the thickness and coverage) can help to prevent a wider range of contagion.
The mask mandate in schools was lifted at the end of the 2020-21 school, therefore the majority of students and faculty have opted to not wear masks as of the start of fall 2021. What does this mean for the few that do choose to continue with their safety practices?
To ensure a face mask is doing its job check:
- Does the mask cover the mouth and nose?
- Are there no gaps in the mask?
- Can you breathe with the mask on?
- Is the mask secure on the face and will not slip?
If every box above is affirmative, then the mask is a good choice to wear for the purpose of reducing the chances of spreading coronavirus.
The Utah government has created a flyer to help the public with questions they may still have and present scientific backing for the need for masks: https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/School/Mask_Science_Flyer.pdf. Additionally, many other resources in various formats are available on their webpage www.coronavirus.utah.gov describing the face mask facts and with the #MaskUpUtah movement.
Most sports teams have asked their players to get vaccinations because of the close quarters they are in both in the game and on transport. Schools need parental permissions in order to test students for coronavirus. Overall, most school functions are running as normal despite a rising number of cases as a result of the Delta variant which has adapted to be spread more easily.
All Utahns ages 12 and older are encouraged to take the vaccination available for free at local health departments. For the Salt Lake County visit www.slco.org/health/COVID-19/vaccine/. Other organizations have taken part in encouraging these vaccinations like Dunkin Donuts offering a free donut for every vaccination card, Target with their monetary rewards program for taking their vaccine, and Spy Hop with their youth-led Vax to the Max campaign active on Instagram @vax2themax.