It's fair to say that Gov. Greg Gianforte has never been a fan of public education. As soon as he moved to Montana, he helped fund a private, "Classical Christian" school and has donated millions of dollars to it in the 25 years it has existed in Bozeman. All of his children graduated from this Petra Academy. So, it's not surprising that he is opposed to local public school boards who mandated masks for school children in the midst of a pandemic. But I was a little surprised by state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen, who enthusiastically joined an anti-masking-mandate rally in Billings.
The purpose of mandating masks is to try to keep children safe as a new, more infectious version of coronavirus is getting more widespread in Montana every week. I wondered what plan or recommendations the OPI might have for schools if neither masks nor vaccinations could be required for children's safety. I called Arntzen's office to ask.
She wasn't available, but eventually I spoke with a fellow in her public information office. He said she believed local people should be in charge. I said, "Me too! School Boards!" He said families should decide. Although I asked more than once, he was not able to supply any plans or recommendations from the OPI for families or school boards to keep kids safe in school.
If we're looking for help in this crisis, it seems we cannot look to Helena in hopes of finding it.