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Parents protest Douglas County schools mask mandate

Douglas County School District said that despite the commissioners' vote, masks will still be required starting Monday for all students ages 2-11.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Hundreds of parents gathered outside the Douglas County School District building Monday morning to protest the mask mandate.

Last week, the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) voted to pass a mask mandate for all students ages 2-11 in public and private schools in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

Douglas County Commissioners voted to opt-out of Tri-County's order to require children 11 and under to wear masks in schools, but despite this decision, students wore masks at Douglas County Schools on Monday.

Douglas County's attorney Kelly Dunnaway explained to commissioners the language of the Tri-County health order gives schools options.

The Douglas County School District said that despite the commissioners' vote, masks would still be required for all students in preschool through sixth grade while indoors. The requirement also applies to all staff who work with that age group. 

"I am for logic; I am for looking at the data and for families being able to make a decision that best fits their need," said Lisa Mason, one of the protest organizers.

Hundreds of parents were in attendance at Monday's protest at the school district's main building in Castle Rock. At least three counter-protesters stood with signs supporting the mask mandate across the street. 

"We believe in science. We believe the science shows that kids who are unvaccinated should wear masks," said Sue, a Douglas County resident. Sue is not a parent but stated she wanted to take a stance as a resident.

"It’s not about, 'your kid or my kid.' It’s about the spread of the disease. We are all in this together," Sue said. "If we can just follow the science, we can get through this; we can get to the other side of this."

Mason said she was surprised to see how many people attended in protest of the mandate.

"If Douglas County Commissioners want to opt-out of the Tri-County health orders, they can do so, and the Douglas County School District should align with that decision."

Many parents at Thursday's County Commissioner meeting said if the school district didn't reverse the mandate, they would pull their children out of school. Mason said pulling her child out of school if the policy isn't reversed is a possibility, but it would be something she would have to discuss with her family. 

"We are not a family that makes rash decisions; we think through all of our decisions as a family that best fits our family and that’s the best for our children," she said. 

"We are considering all options at this point so yes that’s definitely a possibility." 

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