Governor makes it official: Mask mandate now in place for Utah’s public schools

Stock image | Photo by FamVeld/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Gov. Gary Herbert made it official Friday afternoon, issuing the order that made masks mandatory for all students, staff and visitors in indoor areas of K-12 public schools in Utah.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wears his face mask during a media briefing in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 9, 2020 | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

The order is effective immediately and applies through the end of the year, the governor’s office said. The order also made official a directive allowing schools to be open if an area is in the state’s orange coronavirus risk status.

“We want to ensure we have the safest environment possible for students, teachers, and faculty as they return to school this fall,” Herbert said in a statement. “We have established guidelines on how districts can follow these mandates and we trust local school districts and charters to use common sense in creating thoughtful reopening plans for the families and communities they serve.”

Masks will not be required when 6 feet can be maintained between people and in outdoor areas.

Other exemptions are applied when:

  • Eating lunch as long as 6 feet is maintained between someone else.
  • Children younger than age 3.
  • Those who have disabilities.
  • Some extracurricular activities and physical education classes.

The governor’s order incorporates one from the Utah Department of Health. The complete order can be read here.

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

We invite you to check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Southern Utah coronavirus count (as of July 17, 2020, seven-day average in parentheses)

Positive COVID-19 tests: 2,317 (52.6 new infections per day in seven days, rising)

  • Washington County: 1,799 (36.3 per day, dropping)
  • Iron County: 408 (6.9 per day, dropping)
  • Garfield County: 20 (0.3 per day, steady) 
  • Kane County: 27 (1.9 per day, steady)
  • Beaver County: 13 (0.1 per day, rising) 
  • Cases not identified by county: 50

Deaths: 19 (0.6 per day, dropping)

  • Washington County: 15 
  • Iron County: 2
  • Garfield County: 2

Hospitalized: 12 

Recovered: 1,562

Current Utah seven-day average (Goal of less than 500 by Aug. 1 ): 599 (dropping)

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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