Packed meeting to discuss masks in schools postponed due to safety concerns

Local News

UTAH COUNTY (ABC4 News) – Utah County citizens are fighting back against a mask mandate for school children.

Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee says because he “trusts teachers and parents,” he’s asking Governor Gary Herbert to grant the county “compassionate exemption” to the statewide mandate.

Governor Herbert ordered all students and teachers to wear masks inside schools and on buses to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Lee hosted a public gathering outside before a proposed vote on that “compassionate exemption.” Many gathered closely, without wearing masks, to ask questions and share their concerns over the mask mandate.

“I’m not saying no masks, and I’m not saying fully mask. I’m saying let’s find some commonality in this that makes sense. That’s what I’m asking,” said Bill Lee, Utah County Commissioner.

“There’s not enough that we understand. They’re sitting there going wait a second, wait a second, we should have more discussion — and I’d like to see it brought down to a more local level,” added Lee.

Those who oppose masks in schools had different arguments Wednesday. Some saying they support masks, but not mandated ones — and certainly not mandated masks for children in schools.

Others had even stronger beliefs on facial coverings.

“I think it’s totally wrong. I think it’s a political hoax, and I am against masks,” said Denna Robertson.

One teacher, carrying a sign that supported mask wearing, engaged with another person after the meeting.

“All I”m saying is, I”m trying to save my grandma’s life, and I’m a teacher,” he said.

Another woman, a former teacher, also supports masks.

“Since when do we have a constitutional right to put other lives in danger? We can’t smoke in public places — because it puts other people’s lives in danger,” said Tina Cannon, a former teacher.

Once the group migrated to the County Commission meeting, commissioner Tanner Ainge moved to postpone the meeting — as the room filled with people, most of them unmasked.

“This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing,” he said.

“We are supposed to be physical distancing, wearing masks,” he added.

He voted to postpone the meeting to a later date over safety concerns.

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