A letter to Montana school boards from Governor Greg Gianforte released on Friday urges that masking students be ‘optional, voluntary and a matter of family choice.’

Read the entire letter here.

KGVO also spoke with Amy Livesay, a local home school parent on Friday who is part of a group that plans to protest outside the MCPS administration building on Tuesday evening during the time when the meeting announcing the masking decision will be announced, even though the meeting will be held virtually via ZOOM.

“One of our thoughts is, is that even if is their legal right to do (mandate masks for students) so we are exploring that because it seems like there should be able to be public opinion on public schools expressed, and the meeting was moved to virtual after there was the task force meeting, where there was a lot of dissension against putting mask mandates in school,” said Livesay.

Livesay said the majority of people at the in-person task force meeting this week were opposed to masking students.

“There was a very high ratio of people who were against having masks in school versus those who supported it,” she said. “Once they saw the dissension they changed the meeting. So I think it's cowardly, if you want to know my honest opinion, and also a little tyrannical, so our plan is to be peaceful but to show the school board that there is a huge mass of people that do not want this.”

Livesay was adamant that any parent who wishes their child to be masked should do so, but not force parents who are opposed to masking their children.

“We are in support of anyone who wants to wear a mask at school should be given that right,” she said. “If you feel safe wearing a mask at school, you should do that and not have to violate your conscience. But the kids of Missoula and the parents of Missoula, who do not support that, and that want their kids to be unmasked, should be afforded that same freedom.”

Livesay said the protest is planned for Tuesday evening outside the administration building, and anyone is welcome to attend.

“We will be meeting in the parking lot or the sidewalk wherever we get access to at 909 South Avenue West which is just outside where the actual meeting would have been held,” she said. “It is a symbolic meeting to show that we do not support what they're doing. We want to gather people together so they know they're not alone.”

KGVO spoke on Friday to Superintendent Rob Watson who said the recommendation to the school board will be to adopt the masking mandate.


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