Kanabec County Public Health Director Kathy Burski speaks about COVID-19 in front of a crowd of parents who gathered to speak against the Mora School District’s decision requiring elementary students to wear masks in school.


Who here trusts the FDA? Anybody right now trust the FDA?

Crowd: No! 

How about the CDC?

Crowd: No!

How about the director of Public Health here?

Crowd: No!

No. Nobody trusts them. Why do we not trust them?

Crowd: They lie!

Frank Westling addressed and received shouted answers from the crowd during a public forum of the Mora School Board on Sept. 23.

Approximately 120 parents and other concerned persons gathered in front of the Mora School Board, pressing them to reverse their decision requiring elementary students to wear face coverings during school. Some came with brighty colored signs with phrases like “We need O2 not CO2,” “Where’s the freedom?” and “Masks don’t stop the virus.”

During the first weeks of school, administrators said mask wearing was highly recommended, but not required. Very few students wore masks, and the board heard from concerned mothers about the potential this created for their children to be exposed to COVID-19. 

The Mora School Board made the decision to require young students, as well as elementary school staff and visitors to wear face masks inside the building starting Sept. 27, and for at least 28 days when the requirement would be revisited by the board. The decision was made in response to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the community and within the school. 

The school board capped the number of people allowed to speak during the board’s open forum/public comment portions of their agenda to a total of 14, and gave each person a maximum of three minutes to speak. 

Shannon Rolf spoke and encouraged the board to leave the decision of whether or not to mask students up to parents. 

“This really angers me,” she said. “This is my grandson’s first year of school, and this is what he has to come to? You are teaching him to live in fear. You aren’t teaching him education ...  how can he even think with a mask on? 

“You people are supposed to be working on our children’s education, not their health. Us parents, us grandparents, are supposed to be worried about our kids’ health. If we want to send them to school, we can send them to school. If we want to keep them home because we’re scared, we’ll keep them home. We should have the right if we want to put a mask on them or not.”

Kanabec County Public Health Director Kathy Burski also spoke during open forum, using her time to clarify misinformation about how the Delta variant affects children. She also refuted claims that masks are ineffective and claims that mask wearing violated an individuals constitutional rights. 

Many parents informed the board that they would consider enrolling their children elsewhere or keeping them home if the decision to mask students remained in place. 

Speakers called for resignations, and encouraged voters to vote out the school board members at the next election.  One man in the crowd shouted for resignations saying, “We’re coming after you.”

Student board member and senior Eva Holmgren, provided a student’s perspective during her report to the board.

“For me, and a lot of the people I’ve talked to, we would honestly rather wear masks if it got that bad than have to go home. We see it as important and doing the right thing.

“It was brought up that wearing masks is teaching your kids to live in fear. But as a healthcare worker, what is making me live in fear is watching people die from this disease.”

Members of the school board listened to the speakers and re-affirmed the decision would be revisited in one month as originally planned.

On Monday, Sept. 27, the first day of the mask mandate, a group of half a dozen people gathered across the street of the elementary school with signs and flags in protest of the mask requirement.

(1) comment

Frank Westling

The rise in covid 19 cases falls upon PCR tests which the CDC themselves admit will show positive if someone has the common cold, flu or covid. With the change of seasons upon us, illness is common. Masks are not the answer as the manufacturer of them clearly states " these masks do not prevent the spread or contraction of covid19". The mask is deemed a medical device. Masks are only to be worn for 2 hour periods and then replaced. A study done by University of Florida found multiple pathogens after only 8 hours or wear by elementary age children. Reach out to me at if you would like to know more or just voice your opinion.

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