Utah parents fight K-12 mask mandate through ‘See my Smile’ campaign

Coronavirus Updates

(ABC4) – On Monday, some Utah parents with the “See My Smile” campaign, sent their children to school without masks, defying the K-12 mask mandate, which ends on June 15.

A Facebook event page for the campaign states that on April 12, “parents across the state will be walking their children into their schools WITHOUT masks and declaring that their child will NO LONGER wear a mask.”

The page says the “See My Smile” campaign is a mass rejection of the K-12 mask mandate. The online event is hosted by Utah Parent’s United.

Though Utah’s mask mandate ended on April 10, Utah schools still require students to wear masks. Jeff Haney, Communications Director of the Canyons School District, told Good Morning Utah that masks are still a requirement.

According to Haney, April 12 is just like any other day since the start of school.

“Children without masks will be given one. The health order requiring masks at school is still in effect until June 15,” he tells ABC4.

Haney says that there have been few issues in the Canyons School District Monday and only a handful of students needed to be reminded that mask-wearing is still required.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “face masks can be safely worn by all children two years of age and older, including the vast majority of children with underlying health conditions, with rare exception.”

Breann Johnson, a Kaysville parent of a third grader and a kindergartener, was one of the people who took part in the campaign. Her children attend Snow Horse Elementary in the Davis School District.

“I didn’t have too much hope, but I thought, I have to do what I can do to stand for what I know is right,” she says.

Johnson says she had a letter from Utah Parents United explaining why her child would no longer be wearing a mask to school, which she showed to the school’s principal.

She says that Utah Parents United sent a video and the letter to motivate parents to take a stand against masks in schools. Johnson says the organization told parents to remain calm and avoid causing scenes, anger, or violence in taking their stand.

Johnson says she was told by the school’s principal that her child needed to wear a mask unless the child was able to get a mask exemption from the pediatrician.

“I will talk to my pediatrician, see what he says, and if not I will find a pediatrician who will write those mask exemption forms,” Johnson states.

According to Christopher Williams, Director of Communication and Operations for the Davis School District, things have been relatively quiet Monday morning in the district, but said he would provide updates as he learns more.

To learn more about COVID-19, visit coronavirus.utah.gov and cdc.gov.

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