HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Nurses Association is condemning the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) emergency ruling about masks in schools.
In a statement released Sept. 8, the Montana’s Nurses Association (MNA) says DPHHS, the state's governing body on health, is using "junk science" when it comes to their new emergency rule.
The ruling states that schools should offer parents the ability to opt-out of health-related mandates to include mask or face coverings in schools.
MNA says the evidence they cited for this is not backed up by science. In fact, one source they used is not peer-reviewed. Another cites an article out of N.Y. Magazine, which is not a scientific journal, and finally, the MNA says the fourth study DPHHS used talks about the flu and not COVID-19.
Vicky Byrd, the CEO of MNA, is concerned about the information DPHHS is putting out.
"You know, the misrepresentation creates more distrust in the most trusted profession. And when I have nurses calling me saying they've gone from being that nurse in the community to public enemy number one, something is not right," said Byrd.
Byrd also told me that they have reached out to Governor Greg Gianforte several times and have yet to receive any comment in return.
They have asked to help resolve the situation and offer their professional insight into the mask conversation and told me they have been met with little to no response.
“I don’t tell my mechanic how to put the tires on, or change the oil in my car, I trust that he’s an expert. I don’t get up on the roof and tell the roofer how to put the roof on my house, but yeah, I can talk about nursing, and I can talk about infection and I can talk about masking because that’s what I do,” said Byrd.
The governor’s office did comment, saying, “The governor’s office engages directly with constructive stakeholders who are honest brokers, not through press releases or media gimmicks.”