SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News)– Thursday, about 100 protesters gathered at the Utah State Capitol to call on the Governor and lawmakers to implement mask enforcement guidelines and other safeguards for teachers and students returning to school in the fall.
Wendy Moss, a local school teacher who says districts must install more ventilation in the classrooms- prior to schools reopening.
“The HVAC unit is a huge deal the schools have windows that won’t open for security and we can’t get fresh air into the classroom,” Wendy Moss said.
The Governor gave districts, parents, and staff some flexibility. The mask order has an exemption for those who have a medical condition, mental health condition, or a disability that prevents wearing a mask when social distancing and when eating or drinking.
“What we really want is the governor to appoint experts, infectious disease experts, people who have studied the spread of COVID-19 to approve these plans,” Moss said.
Other protesters are calling on districts to get evidence that a mask exemption is medically necessary. “I would call on school districts to require some sort of medical documentation to actually receive a mask exemption,” Steve Phelps teacher and special needs advocate said.
Moss and others hope this demonstration will help tighten up mask restrictions in schools.
“We just want to show support for safe schools safe teachers safe students,” Moss said. The state board of education says it is taking direction for the state very seriously.
“Students rise to our expectations so when I hear people say, students won’t do this or you know, they won’t cover up their face in a hallway, they will if we teach them and monitor, teach and monitor, teach and monitor, that’s what we do with other procedures all the time.” State Board of Education Sydnee Dickson said.
Organizers have gathered more than 6,000 signatures from people in the community who support their initiative.