The health order issued on November 1, 2021 at Parley’s Park Elementary School is the first mask requirement issued by the Summit County Health Officer for schools since the start of the pandemic. Restrictions implemented this year by the Utah State Legislature concerning “orders of constraint,” such as mask requirements, created significant confusion throughout the state as it relates to the unique intersection of state, local, and school district authority to control school operations in Utah. Dr. Phil Bondurant, the Summit County Health Officer, learned mid-week of the Park City School District’s confusion regarding its enforcement role relative to the recently issued health order for Parley’s. On Thursday, Dr. Bondurant, Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson, Deputy Summit County Attorney Dave Thomas, Dr. Jill Gildea, and the School District’s attorney met to address, clarify, and resolve that confusion. Collectively, we believe there is a workable plan going forward to facilitate the existing health order at Parley’s.

While complying with Summit County health orders is very important to mitigate COVID-19’s impact in Summit County, Dr. Bondurant and the Summit County Council believe that vaccinations are what will best mitigate the continued spread of COVID-19 and its attendant health risks particularly, for sensitive populations. Vaccinations will finally be available for children 5-11 years old starting Monday and we anticipate more than 1,000 will be vaccinated this week. Most could be fully vaccinated prior to the Christmas and New Year holiday periods. Boosters are available for certain populations, and we continue to urge unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Dr. Bondurant anticipates that colder weather and gatherings during the holidays increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, imperil our hospital’s ability to function for all residents, and risk substantial harm for our winter economy. Summit County has been a nationwide leader in its citizens’ adoption of proven COVID-19 mitigation measures and we are certain the community will rise to the occasion again.