COLUMBIA FALLS — Columbia Falls High School students staged a walkout on Friday in hopes of making face coverings optional in schools.
"I finally said you know enough is enough let's gather as many people as we can let's stand outside let's show all these people how many like-minded students we have,” said senior Emma Upton. She explained the protest was the students’ way to catch the attention of the district's school board. “We want optional masks in schools,” she said.
Upton says that some students are fed up with wearing masks in schools, and took to the sidewalk across from the high school on Friday.
“The main goal is to just see the time come when we don't have to wear something or over our faces to go to school and I would love an uplifting conversation like that,” Upton told MTN News.
The Columbia Falls School District website shows there have been 213 COVID cases among students and 84 total cases among staff. There are currently no active cases.
Columbia Falls School District Superintendent Dave Wick says that masking up in schools has been a controversial issue not just for Columbia Falls but for every school district.
“I think it's been an ongoing issue in every school that I know of. I'm going to have some issues, so I don't think not having cases has some effect, but it's been controversial for quite a while,” Wick said.
The school district has implemented mitigation efforts such as wearing masks and social distancing, and Wick says those efforts have been working.
More than 50 students and parents showed up for the walkout.
Ultimately, it will be up to the Columbia Falls School Board to decide if any policy changes will be made.