LIBERTY, MO (KCTV) – A meeting to discuss COVID guidelines for schools in Clay County Monday night was packed with people opposed to mask mandates, agitating for the elected health board not to recommend any mask requirements. After three hours of heated public comment and one hour of discussion between board members, the only vote taken was to postpone the vote on school guidance for a later time.
Before anyone knew what the guidance was that they were going to be voting on, it was clear that the piece people were most passionate about was masks.
“Do not submit to the tyranny of the urgent,” said Jason Meyers.
“Freedom of choice is always the answer because the experts do not agree,” said Melanie Messer, RN.
“This is medical fascism and it’s heartbreaking,” said Dr. Dana Granberg-Nill, MD.
“The current public health issue for our children is not virus. It is a mental health crisis,” said Julianne Hutchcraft, RN.
All of those who spoke are residents in Clay County, some in portions of Kansas City, Missouri located in the county, others from cities like Gladstone, Kearney, Liberty and Excelsior Springs.
“This should be considered child abuse and is completely uncalled for,” said Megan Lewis of Kearney.
One Kearney parent came to the podium with her baby in her arms and began crying. She was upset about all the division and about things she experienced with her children during the past school year.
“Seeing them in school not interacting with their friends, teachers getting mad at them for [not] pulling their masks up over their nose,” recounted Michelle Cannon of Kearney.
“Take off the masks!” shouted Chad Wagner of Excelsior Springs. His exclamation was met with a roar of applause, after which he asked the board, “Are you following science or is this political theater?”
Those who oppose any mandate were the dominant voice. Between 150 and 200 people were present. Public comment took up three hours. There were 36 people who spoke. Six of them spoke in favor of mandating masks be worn.
“While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it does not mean that we and you need to heed them when they seek to create a health liability for members of our community,” said Matt Sameck, a resident of Liberty.
“Trust and know there is a silent majority of people who do feel all of the mitigation measures are important,” said Jo Miceck, RN, the Infection Prevention Coordinator at Liberty Hospital.
The Clay County Public Health Center Board of Trustees is an elected board that creates policy among other things. Their discussion after public comment was met with many interjections from the audience. Ultimately the decision was made to table a vote in order to seek input from experts at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
No date has been set for the next public meeting. Whatever happens, the final decision is up to individual school boards. Two Clay County school districts have already mandated masks because they have schools in Kansas City limits where the mayor has created a citywide mandate running through the end of August.