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State Information

State Policy Information

State Sex Education Policies and Requirements at a Glance

Schools in Utah are required to teach some sex education. State law requires such instruction to occur at LEAST twice between 8th and 12 grades. 

  • Curriculum is not required to be comprehensive and must stress abstinence. 
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. 
  • Curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent. However, the curriculum must include instruction on refusal skills. 
  • Parents or guardians must give written permission in order for a student to participate in any form of sex education. This is referred to as an “opt-in” policy.
  • Curriculum must be medically accurate. 

State Law

Utah Code (§ 53G-10-402Administrative Code §§ R277-474, and R277-700) mandates the State Board of Education to establish curriculum requirements for grades 8–12 on the prevention of communicable diseases. This instruction must stress “the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases, and [the importance of] personal skills that encourage individual choice of abstinence and fidelity.”

Among other limitations on what can be taught, the Utah Code states that “[a]t no time may instruction be provided, including responses to spontaneous questions raised by students, regarding any means or methods that facilitate or encourage the violation of any state or federal criminal law by a minor or an adult.” However, educators are permitted to respond to spontaneous questions for the purpose of “providing accurate data or correcting inaccurate or misleading information or comments made by students in class regarding sex education.”

Utah Code, effectively amended in May 2019 to remove language that prohibited “the advocacy of sexual activity outside of marriage,” further requires that materials used for instruction in health not include:

  • the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior;
  • the advocacy of premarital or extra marital sexual activity; or
  • the advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices.

Further, Utah Code was amended to require the teaching of “refusal skills” and “the harmful effects of pornography” in health instruction. The Utah Code requires that each newly hired or newly assigned educator who teaches or who will be teaching any part of a sex education class must attend a state-sponsored course offered annually that outlines the state-designed curriculum and Utah Code regarding the teaching of human sexuality. In addition, the Utah Code was amended in March 2019 to allow health education instruction to “include information about the medical characteristics, effectiveness, limitations, and risks of contraceptive methods or devices.”

Parents or guardians must give written permission in order for a student to participate in any form of sex education. This is referred to as an “opt-in” policy.

State Profiles provided by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. For more information regarding your state’s sex ed policy, visit

Health Standards

State Standards

The Elementary Core Curriculum: Responsible Healthy Lifestyles 3–6 and Secondary Health Core Curriculum: The Road to Healthy Behaviors 7-12, which are suggested education standards produced by the Utah State Office of Education, provide greater detail regarding topics to be included based on grade levels. The Elementary Core Curriculum states that in grades 3–6, students should receive disease prevention and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) education. According to the Secondary Health Core Curriculum, students should receive instruction that abstinence is the best way to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) beginning in grade 7. Furthermore, instructors are told that a “strong abstinence message has always been and will continue to be an expected element” (emphasis in original) of sex education. Schools are not required to follow this framework. However, local school districts must establish a curriculum materials review committee. Curricula must be adopted after “an open and regular” school board meeting in which parents and guardians have an opportunity to testify.  In the 2020-2021 school year, the updated Utah Core State Standards for Health Education were fully implemented in all schools and outline standards related to sex education.

State Profiles provided by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. For more information regarding your state’s sex ed policy, visit