MOAB — All Grand County School District students in kindergarten through sixth grade will need to wear masks when school starts later this week.
The K-6 school mask mandate will be in place when school starts on Thursday and will continue for 30 days, district officials announced Monday. The Grand County Commission has indicated it will support the mandate "in kind," according to a Facebook post from the Grand County School District.
"We stand at a crossroads and are choosing to take the path most likely resulting in safer, healthier students," the post said. "We owe it to our children to protect them. Each student, every day."
Under Utah's current legislation, local health departments are able to institute mask mandates for districts in their areas, but must seek approval for the mandates from their county's elected body after 30 days. During the 30-day period, Grand County's case counts will be monitored, and the health order will be renewed if necessary after the 30 days.
The Southeast Utah Health Department instituted Grand County's mandate, the school district said. Moab Regional Hospital also supports the measure.
Grand County School District was one of the few in the state where students were able to attend school in-person for all of last year, the district said. With a K-6 mask mandate, hopefully that will be the case this school year, the district said.
"By enacting a mandatory indoor K-6 mask mandate, we are collectively choosing to set GCSD students on a positive path so that they can continue to benefit from in-person schooling, and even more importantly, to have increased protection from a deadly virus," the district said in the Facebook post.
The Utah Department of Health has sent out over a million masks to school districts in the state, the department announced Friday. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox previously promised that every school student who wants an N95 mask in the state would be provided with one for free.
Small-sized pediatric masks were sent out to the districts, as well as larger KN95 masks for older students and staff, health department spokesman Tom Hudachko told KSL NewsRadio. Hundreds of thousands of more masks are on order and will be sent out in the coming weeks, he added.