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Montana schools chief Arntzen questions school mask guidelines

Posted at 8:31 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 10:31:05-04

BILLINGS — Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen's office has asked Gov. Steve Bullock's office for clarification on school face mask guidelines released on Thursday.

A directive dated Aug. 12 requires face coverings in public and private schools in counties with four or more active COVID-19 cases.

In a letter to Democrat Bullock, Arntzen, a Republican, asked about new guidelines that would not require masks for all students and teachers who are properly distanced.

Arntzen wanted to know the legal impacts of updated information that she says conflicts with the directive.

Elsie Arntzen2.PNG
Elsie Arntzen

"I don't know where all this is coming and I don't know who it was sent to," Arntzen said. "So when I have all these school leaders that are frantic, that are concerned, that are challenged by all of this information, that they don't know if it's legal or not, my response is I'll find out."

Gov. Bullock responded in a letter: "Districts may make a narrow allowance for students to remove their face coverings while seated and in a classroom, but only where proper social distancing of six feet is both possible and strictly observed."