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Dozens gather at State Capitol Building to protest mask policies in schools

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 7:02 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - It started with a Facebook group called “Open Up Wyoming No More Masks," and Thursday afternoon turned into an in person protest. A crowd young and old came to the Wyoming State Capitol Building. Their mission? Mask mandates when social distancing isn’t possible, be lifted in schools.

“What we’d ultimately like is the release of the mask mandate statewide. If the Governor and Dr. Harrist are refusing to do that, then maybe they should look at districts individually and decide which ones this is necessary for,” said one of the protest’s organizers, Laura Jorgensen.

“We’re putting kids in masks and it steals away from their identities. It takes away from the smiles we see on each other’s faces, we are humans and we need to have that interaction,” said protest attendee, Donald Crerar.

“I have four kids in school, I have to keep track of 19 masks a week. I make sure that they all have their masks in their bag, but I’m not sure that they’re not using another students mask when they can’t find their mask, and that’s a petri dish,” said one of the protest’s organizers, Charlotte Black.

On Tuesday, Governor Mark Gordon made the decision to ease restrictions on indoor gatherings and sports, but extended all other health orders until Sep. 30. Gordon and State Health Officer, Dr. Alexia Harrist, have encouraged the state to be patient because schools have only been in session for a few weeks.

“Right now we really think that the face masks when distancing can’t be maintained, is the best way that we’re going to keep kids and staff from getting sick, to be able to keep schools open as long as possible,” said Harrist.

Not only does the crowd want to lift the mask mandates when social distancing isn’t possible in schools, but also make wearing a mask, a personal choice.

“When do we stop wearing masks? When do we get to resume our every day lives? We feel like they have shifted the focus from it being a pandemic, and worrying about overwhelming the hospitals and people dying, to now we’re worried about how many cases we have,” said Black.

“It shows we are a people that are very frustrated, and when you come together like this, there’s strength in numbers and there’s unity,” said Crerar.

A few members of the group were able to speak with Gov. Gordon, but said they aren’t sure if they got anywhere with him. They hope Gordon will make changes to his next health orders, but were also thankful he heard them out.

Copyright 2020 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.

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