Reactions to SLCSD Dropping Mask Mandate


Eliott Coda

Schools are no longer restricted by pandemic safety measures.

Nason Jones, Staff Writer

The recent decision by the Utah State Legislature to overturn all mask mandates in schools has caused some extreme controversy and concern in schools, while others are celebrating the decision.

It has been a month after the decision. Have masks fallen in schools or will they stay?

With State Legislature making it unlawful for Cities and Counties to enforce independent Mask Mandates. Highland has seen mixed emotion on the mask mandate dropping.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and schools being back in person the Salt Lake City School District has stood by with the Mask Mandate as well to follow Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s prior mandate. But with the mandate no longer enforceable, some teachers are concerned.

“Everyone is hoping that this is the true end of all of this,” Highland teacher Maja Onda said, “but I feel like we are leaving behind those people who are at higher risk.”

For Onda, it is concerning for her because she, some in her family, and some of her friends are at a higher risk. Onda is worried the drop in masks could lead to another outbreak, leading to another school shutdown.

“We are definitely concerned about the number of cases,” Principal Jeremy Chatterton said. “Obviously having to go remote last month was not ideal.”

Since the mask mandate was dropped, the number of cases in Utah have dropped as well, a sign that the Omicron variant did what many experts predicted – move quickly through the population because of its intense rate of spread.

Many believe this is a sign that the pandemic is in its final stages and that masks are no longer needed. This caused some students to celebrate, knowing that they don’t have to be required to wear masks.

“I’m so glad that the mask mandates are done,” Highland student Tate Nichols said.

Overall, students having mixed emotions about the mask mandates having mixed emotions about the dropped mask mandate. Most students and teachers are still wearing masks, but the number of maskless faces is growing.

“I’m going to keep wearing my mask so I stay safe,” Highland student Dylan Koerselman said.