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NOT THE ONION: Elementary School Principal Says Kids Must Wear Masks While Chewing

A public elementary school principal in Washington state directed students to keep their protective masks on in between bites at lunch.


Neil O’Brien, principal of Geiger Montessori School in Tacoma, issued the mandate in an email to parents earlier this month clarifying the school’s COVID-19 guidelines, Seattle radio station KTTH reported.

  • “Children should wear masks during lunch. They can lower it to take a bite or a drink, and raise it to chew, swallow, or talk,” O’Brien wrote. “Our cafeteria has a fantastic airflow system and children are spaced apart AND when over a hundred of them are in one large room (the cafeteria and gym combined) we need to treat lunchtime as a dangerous time for all.”
  • When KTTH questioned the scientific basis of the mask mandate during chewing, the Tacoma Public Schools district eventually acknowledged there was none and quietly walked back the rule.


A viral video of a distraught toddler being forced to wear a mask at a New York preschool last week has fueled backlash against mask requirements for children.

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