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Utah parents protest state mask mandate for students by not wearing masks to crowded meeting


That's one way to make a point

Utah parents attend a county meeting to discuss a state mandate that K-12 students wear masks to school. (Image source: NBC News video screenshot)

Utah parents disregarded all social distancing protocol during a Utah County meeting that was called to discuss a state mandate that K-12 students wear masks when they return to school, ABC News reported.

The parents did not wear masks and did not abide by a seating arrangement that was meant to maintain distance between attendees. The result was dozens of people sitting close together in an indoor space with no masks — the exact opposite of what even the more conservative medical experts would recommend.

One attendee told KTVX-TV that she thought the mask mandate was a "political hoax" and that she was against their use. Another attendee held a sign that read "no masks." The Salt Lake Tribune reported that there were many passionate expressions of opposition to masks:

As she walked up to the podium to speak, one of the moms grabbed a face mask and spit her gum out into it. "It's garbage," she shrugged, wadding it up. "It doesn't work anyway. Not for me and not for my kids."

A dad who spoke after her said he, too, doesn't think the masks are effective, and said he's pulling his kids out of school this fall if the state doesn't lift its mandate requiring all K-12 students to wear a face covering. Another mother carried her 4-year-old son in her arms, noting there's no way he would keep one on in his kindergarten class — but she thinks they're stupid anyway, regardless of age.

Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge was booed when he criticized the crowd for their maskless protest, saying, "This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing."

The commissioners voted to postpone the meeting, leading to more boos.

"We are supposed to be physical distancing, wearing masks," Ainge said.

Watch: Parents Pack Into Utah County Meeting To Protest Student Mask Mandate | NBC News NOW youtu.be

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) wants schools to reopen in the fall, but he issued an order that students and teachers be required to wear masks when they return.

Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee sent a letter to Herbert asking him to waive that requirement. Ainge supports the mask mandate.

"I'm not saying no masks, and I'm not saying fully mask," Lee said, according to KTVX. "I'm saying let's find some commonality in this that makes sense. That's what I'm asking. 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."

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