Salt Lake City Council extends term of school masks until district’s winter vacation

A view of the Salt Lake City County Building from the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City on Friday, January 22, 2021 (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City City Council extended the city’s COVID-19 emergency order on Tuesday, meaning masks will continue to be mandatory at K-12 schools across the city until the end of the calendar year.

The order has been extended until December 20, when the Salt Lake City school district’s winter vacation begins. The council had already extended the order on September 15 for an additional 30 days.

The Salt Lake City School District has had 321 cases of COVID-19 in the past two weeks, which puts the district in the middle of the pack among other Salt Lake City County districts, according to data shared by the mayor of Salt Lake City Erin Mendenhall.

However, in the first 40 days of the school year, the Salt Lake District reported 864 cases, which is the lowest total number of cases among the county’s five districts. Salt Lake’s total number of cases is the only one that is less than 1,000 among all districts.

“Our school district is still very low,” Mendenhall said.

She added that Salt Lake County was still at a high level of transmission for COVID-19, along with most other counties in the state.

City officials are still trying to increase vaccination rates on the west side of Salt Lake City, which has the highest case rates, Mendenhall said. There was an increase in vaccination rates in September and early October, but this appears to have leveled off, she added.

Just under 64% of eligible Salt Lake City residents have now been vaccinated, according to Mendenhall.

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