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WATCH NOW: School board meeting halted when some parents refuse to wear mask

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School board meeting halted

A parent wearing a face mask around her neck prepares to take a seat at the start of Tuesday's Elko County School District board meeting.

ELKO – Tuesday’s Elko County School Board meeting was halted less than two minutes after it began when some parents in the audience refused to wear masks.

Board Chairman Teresa Dastrup admonished the parents to put masks on twice before she paused the meeting one minute and 40 seconds after it began. She had told those without masks that they could participate online.

Dastrup said the recess would last five minutes but the live feed did not resume. The Elko Daily Free Press was attempting to cover the meeting virtually.

Dastrup and the only other trustee on the board, Ira Wines, had been scheduled to appoint five board members Tuesday evening, among other business. The members resigned in August after taking action on the governor’s mask mandate.

The Free Press contacted Superintendent Jeff Zander, who was not at the meeting after injuring his foot over the weekend while hunting. He said the board had to postpone the meeting because of the lack of cooperation from parents.

According to Dastrup, who spoke to the Elko Daily Free Press after the meeting, “about seven refused to wear masks.”

She noted that some attendees who took masks provided by the school district at the door “chose to put it on their chin.”

“These are the mandates we’re under right now, whether we like them or not,” she said. “When we are in district buildings, our students have to wear masks, teachers have to wear masks, and the public when they are in our building.”

Dastrup said if Gov. Steve Siolak changed the mandates set by emergency directives, then the school district would “be glad to readdress things. But right now, we have to follow those mandates because they carry the weight of law whether people like it or not.”

Enforcing the mandates was necessary to keep schools open, Dastrup added.

“None of us want to be the mask police, but we need to keep our kids in school. We want them to have their sports and activities and be in class,” she said.

Dastrup said the board plans to reschedule the meeting at a later date.

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