WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) — The newly established Moms Against Masks coalition made their voices heard in Southern Utah this week.
Madeline Kazantzis, who is campaigning as a write-in candidate for Utah governor, brought together a few dozen protestors in front of the Washington County School District building Tuesday morning ahead of a school board meeting.
Kazantzis tells ABC4 News that parents should have a choice and Governor Herbert’s recent mandate for K-12 students returning to school in the fall opposes American ideals of freedom.
“I just don’t agree with the mandating of masks. I’m not here in any capacity to tell any parent what they should or should not do with their child, but I am here advocating for students as individual people,” Kazantzis said.
The organizer referenced a survey sent out to parents in Washington County last month that received nearly 10,000 responses, showing that the majority preferred hand-washing over mask-wearing.
“Why hasn’t it been put to a vote?” Kazantzis asked. “Why are the people’s voices not being heard?”
Steve Dunham, director of communications for the Washington County School District, said staff are committed to opening in-person schools on August 13th. Classes will be held Monday through Friday, with Friday being a shortened day for all students.
Administrators say their current re-opening plans are flexible and allow parents to continue educating their children through remote or online schooling.
“Some of our most high-risk populations can be in our schools. I personally would never want to knowingly or unknowingly infect someone else,” Dunham said, referencing a recent survey that revealed more than 60% of the district’s bus drivers are considered high-risk by one or more standards.
Dunham added that special needs students attending summer school have adapted extremely well to wearing a mask with controlled breaks within one or two days.
“Based upon this, I would encourage our parents to work with their children and make it a positive experience,” Dunham said. “Practice under short periods of time. Students can adapt and our teachers will help.”
The Washington County School District will finalize and release their final plan on Monday, administrators said. Parents will have one week to provide comments by July 27.