An Open Letter to Utah Lawmakers

“Necessity not only authorizes but seems to require the measure…”

George Washington

Dear Governor Cox, House and Senate Members, City and County Leaders, Council Members, and Local Government Leaders,

Last year you asked me to be a shield for my students and for my community.

You asked that I return to a classroom full of unknowns. That I wear a mask, and teach my students to wear a mask properly. You asked that I navigate teaching a classroom full of students in the middle of a pandemic, and keep them healthy. You asked that I do it with a smile on my face and love in my heart because that’s what you do for community.

When the vaccine became available, you asked that I burnish my shield to a fine shine and imbue it with an extra level of immunity. I took the vaccine willingly and gratefully.

Last year was the most difficult year I’ve ever experienced as a teacher. Despite masks, children and their families got sick. Some students had family members die. In the midst of this, you asked that I remain in school and provide support. You asked that I navigate teaching, despite the stress and fear of disease, “for the children, for their mental health.” And we did it. We made last year safe for our students and communities. Teachers did that. They took your cobbled together rules and they implemented them. For you, for parents, and for the state.

By not instituting a mask mandate in k-12 schools, you are spitting on our sacrifice.

In an attempt to please the loudest and most obstinate groups, you are impacting the health, safety, and progress of the state of Utah. You have not followed the advise of medical professionals, you have not listened to the pleas of your healthcare workers, or the experience of your teachers. Instead, you have chosen to bow to the groups most awash in misinformation. This has and will result in rising case counts, ICU tipping points, and pediatric deaths.

Last year, you asked me to lead and I did. Now, you have not shown any leadership. You have not shown calm consideration of facts and research. You have not shown the ability to make changes for the good of the state.

Now, you are turning your backs on our children.You are turning your backs on their sacrifice.

We are on the verge of school re-opening, and in a fit of righteous indignation you have banned mask mandates. Despite the fact that you have tried to downplay your involvement, the reason children will remain unprotected is because of you. The reason children will be hospitalized is because of you.You have put politicians with agendas in charge of the health of our children, rather than pediatricians or other science professionals.

You have chosen your power and prestige over the life of my children, of my students, and of my community.

Masks in schools will save lives.

It is not the child that struggles to follow the rules of masks. It is not the child that struggles to show empathy for others. It is not the child who struggles with community care.

It is the adults. It is the parent. It is you, the politician.

Children are catching Covid. They are being impacted by the disease. Your folly will impact the future of our state, the future of our community, and the future of our students.

The right thing is to impose a mask mandate in schools. You know this, the evidence points to this, all last year was spent protecting children and now, rather than continue, you have chosen to succumb to pediatric ICU surges, and deaths.

We can not shield them when you’ve tied our hands behind our back. We can not shield them when you’ve made it illegal to even try. We can not shield them when you stir the pot amongst the most volatile of parents. Last year you asked us to be their protectors, this year, you’re asking us to stand back and watch as our future sickens at the hands of a virus that could have been stopped by a mask.

Impose a mask mandate in k-12 schools.

By mshipstory


I'm Lindsay Adams. I'm passionate about history, teaching, and writing.

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