To: Governor Cox, BRHD Board and Executives; and the following officials who serve within Cache County: State Legislators, County Executive and Council, City Mayors and Council members, and School Boards and School Administrators

We are local physicians and healthcare professionals who live and work in Cache Valley communities. Many of you may know us, or know our names, as we may have taken care of you or your loved ones over the years. You might see us at church, the grocery store, and at local events. Our children may go to school together. Thank you for entrusting us with your care.

As this latest surge of COVID-19 converges with the start of the 2021 school year, we face a new and heightened challenge. The social and educational benefits of in-person schooling are well-documented for K-12 and university students. We must ensure that those students and schools are safe.

Cache County has seen a recent surge in COVID-19 cases and is categorized as High Risk for COVID transmission, and extremely high risk for unvaccinated individuals. In response to increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the CDC and other professional organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics have updated their guidance to strongly recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Universal masking in schools is critical to mitigate COVID infections and to limit disruptive quarantines for students and families or closures of entire classes or schools.

We all look forward to the pandemic’s end, but low vaccination rates in Cache County and faster spread of the Delta variant have delayed that end. Case rates are increasing, particularly in school-age children, and are now over four times what they were a year ago when students were required to mask and many were learning from home. Just weeks into the school year, two schools in Utah (including our own Sky View High) are already nearing the case-count threshold for a Test-to-Stay event, in which students must have a negative COVID test to continue in-person schooling. Because cases have recently increased in Cache, it is likely that a rise in illness, hospitalizations, and deaths will follow in the coming weeks.

Utah House Bill 1007 (HB 1007) prevents schools and universities from requiring face masks, although mask use has been shown to be a key component in protecting our children and community. The bill passed in May of this year when case counts were falling and all of us hoped the pandemic was nearing its end. We hope that those of you in leadership positions in our state and community choose to respond with empathy in your stewardship. Governor Spencer Cox can call our state legislature back into session to amend the legislation in light of changes in the circumstances of the pandemic at a state level. In late August, Governor Cox said he would issue an Executive Order allowing local education officials to require masks for students and staff in schools, placing responsibility on their shoulders. The law also allows county health departments to issue public health orders, so long as the county approves, and it is clearly time that they do so. Salt Lake City’s Mayor Mendenhall issued an order requiring masks in K-12 schools, and a similar order could be crafted for cities in Cache Valley.

Because we care about children in our community and their families, we ask Governor Cox, the Bear River Health Department, our state legislators, Cache County elected officials and city officials within the county, as well as school board members in both Logan City and Cache County school districts, to join together in creating public health standards and community orders that require masks in schools. Experience shows that school-age children are motivated to stay healthy and stay in school. They’ve demonstrated they can easily wear masks for their own health and the health of their friends. Until there is widespread vaccination across all age groups, universal masking remains one of our best strategies for protecting children and preventing further transmission.

We look forward to a day when our daily lives are not so drastically impacted by the pandemic. Right now, school-age children are relying on adults in leadership to help keep them safe. As you’ve entrusted us with your care, we trust that you will consider these recommendations and we plead with you to work together for a healthy and productive school year. Thank you.



Andrew Cobabe, AuD

Mellisa LaMalfa, RN
Registered Nurse

Marion Bishop, MD
ER Physician

Chantel Erickson
Registered Nurse, Home Health

Apostolos Theophilou, PT
Physical Therapist

Katelyn E Battles, BSN-RN
ER Registered Nurse

Registered Nurse

T. Michael Bishop
Retired ER Physician

Daniel Sharp, MD
Family Medicine physician

Jennifer Valcarce
Emergency Department Registered Nurse

Geoffrey L. Braden, MD
Clinical Gastroenterologist

Andrea Chamberlain, MOT, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Ashley Crum, MD
ER physician

Patricia Sadoski
Retired Nurse and Senior Consultant

Mary DaSilva, RN
RN, Retired

Linda J Roberts, FNP
Nurse Practitioner

Claire Chadwick
Registered Nurse

Jocelyn Conner, DPT
Physical Therapist

Virginia L. Anderson
Retired Registered Nurse

Sheryl Roper, MSN, PNP-C
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Kathleen Strelich, BS

Zoe Adler, MD

Randall Durrant
Nurse Care Manager

Prafulla Martin-Garg, MD

JoAnn Hamilton, CMA
Certified Medical Assistant

Rachel Rood

Daniel Huff, DPM

Brad M Goates, MD
Family Medicine

Craig W Armstrong
Retired pediatrician

Megan S. Pavlus
Medical Assistant

Ali Ben-Jacob, MD

Heath Weaver
Emergency Department nurse

Todd A Brown, MD FAAFP
Physician Hospice

Shane R Larson, MD

Brian W. Carlson, MD
Lead Physician, Logan Clinic Family Medicine

Chad Dallon, MD

Michael Visick, MD, FAAP

Matt Rogers, MD

Thomas H. Clark, MD
Family Medicine Physician

Austin Bowles, MS, MD

Katie Ball
Mental Health Professional

Danny Sandgren, DO

Michael Housley, MD
Family Medicine

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