OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Billboards supporting a statewide mask mandate in Oklahoma schools have been erected across the state.
The billboards, paid for by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, read “Endangering Teachers for Politics” and “State Education Board votes no on masks,” The Oklahoman reported.
The board voted 4-3 in July to recommend, not require, masks in schools unless a school’s home county has 1.43 or more cases per 100,000 residents. All Oklahoma’s counties are currently at that level or higher, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Advocacy group chairman Joe Dorman said the board should vote again on the question at its next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 19.
“We want policymakers to see this billboard and understand we are serious about this,” Dorman told the newspaper.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and board members Carlisha Williams-Bradley and Kurt Bollenbach voted for the requirement while Jennifer Monies, Estela Hernandez, William Flanagan and Brian Bobek voted no.
The health department on Saturday reported 1,267 new virus cases and 11 more deaths, bringing the totals to 122,762 cases and 1,337 deaths.
The true number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.