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September 22, 2021

Limited primary activities with local approval permitted in Utah under updated church guidelines

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints updated its COVID-19 guidelines Friday to allow in-person primary services for children, under the direction of local stake presidents and bishops.

In a letter sent to Utah church leaders, the Utah Area Presidency offered updated recommendations that allow ward leaders (with the counsel of stake leaders) to find times to offer virtual or in-person primary classes either on Sunday or during the week. At any activities held, proper health precautions, like social distancing and mask-wearing, must be taken.

“We have become increasingly concerned about our children who have been unable to attend primary for almost a year,” the letter states, in part. “We are truly thankful for the efforts of primary leaders and parents who provide a home-centered gospel learning experience and other activities with the support of church leaders and resources.”

Primary leaders and teachers were also encouraged to be creative in how they are able to connect with children virtually.

“Leaders should counsel together and ask what they can do, rather than what they cannot do in these circumstances,” the letter advised.

Parents, they continued, should focus on home-centered gospel learning with their children and work with stake and ward leaders to help prepare children for baptisms when they turn 8 years old; however, in-person baptism attendance should be limited to close family, while others are still asked to watch the service via streaming platforms, leaders noted in the letter.

“We express gratitude for your attentive care and dedicated service,” the Utah Area Presidency wrote in the letter. “As we continue to counsel with senior leaders of the church and as conditions in the Utah Area improve, we will continue to support your efforts with additional modifications to these and other guidelines.”

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