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Box Elder County parents call for an end to mask mandate in schools

Posted at 5:41 PM, Sep 17, 2020

BOX ELDER CO., Utah — Parents in the Box Elder School District gathered together Thursday afternoon, asking kids be given the choice whether or not to wear masks while in school.

There was a group of about 20 to 30 parents outside of the Box Elder County School District Offices, raising their concerns.

Box Elder County moved to a green risk status nearly a week ago Friday.

Since then, Superintendent Steven Carlsen said he’s been inundated with calls and emails asking if this would change the mask mandate status for schools within the district.

One parent, Natalie Doutre, said she has two children who received a medical exemption from their doctor to not wear a mask, yet her kids are bullied for not putting it on.

“It’s causing so much anxiety for these kids to wear masks,” said Doutre.

Other parents rallying around the district offices said their children come home everyday complaining of headaches, dizzy and lightheadedness.

“If you want to wear a mask, where a mask,” said Doutre. “But don’t force me and my children to wear a mask.”

In the Box Elder County School District, there are about 12,000 students total.

Some of the schools are unique, said Carlsen, ranging from three kids total in one school, up to 1,500 students.

“I wrote to the governor and said we need to have some local control,” said Carlsen.

Carlsen spoke with parents explaining his hands are essentially tied, due to a state mandate for masks in schools.

Governor Gary Herbert and the State Board of Education are the ones, Carlsen said, that would have to make the change.

Carlsen said he is writing a plan to submit to the governor on how to phase out of a mask mandate for individual schools.

An emergency meeting to discuss this more is in the books, said Carlsen, for the next coming weeks.