Utah school districts have received a seven-month reprieve in meeting their mandate to identify and plan to deal with asbestos in school buildings.

Congress has passed a bill that extends the deadline for inspecting schools and developing action plans for removing or encapsulating asbestos. The deadline originally was Oct. 12 and has been extended to May 9, 1989.Districts may apply for extensions on a school-by-school basis, not districtwide, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesman in Denver said. "This is not a district deferral."

In Utah, districts that desire an extension on particular schools may apply to the Bureau of Air Quality.

Many districts apparently have progressed significantly toward meeting the Oct. 12 deadline and will not ask for extensions. Abatement projects are expected to be very costly.

School officials have suggested that Gov. Norm Bangerter consider the asbestos mandate as a problem for which some of his "rainy day" fund could logically be spent.