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Blaine County schools to require face masks at the beginning of the school year

Under the revised plan, students will still be in the classroom five days a week and will be required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside.
Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

HAILEY, Idaho — The Blaine County School District adopted several COVID-19 safety protocols for the upcoming school year, including the required use of face masks indoors, during a board meeting on Thursday.

Blaine County School Board members voted 4-1 to approve the plan during a virtual meeting on Thursday. The meeting was held virtually after a group of protesters allegedly refused to wear a face mask during an in-person special board meeting on Tuesday, which ultimately led to the meeting being cut short. 

The new health and safety plans will go into effect on Monday, August 23, the first day of school for students. Under the revised plan, students will still be in the classroom five days a week.

Masks are required inside for students, teachers, parents, volunteers and other members of the public. Students will also be required to wear a face mask on school busses.

Masks will not be required outside and will become optional inside if the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare lists COVID-19 transmission at the "green" level, the lowest risk.

Face coverings exceptions will be made under the following circumstances:

  • When outside for occasions such as recess, outdoor learning times, etc. 
  • Persons with medical conditions or religious exemption that prevent them from wearing a face covering, with appropriate documentation.
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the face covering without assistance. 
  • Other exceptions based on case manager and team decision with appropriate documentation.

Staff members will not be required to wear a mask under the following circumstances:

  • When alone with no other staff or students present. 
  • When working only with other staff who are fully vaccinated, appropriate physical distancing can be maintained and all individuals comfortable without face coverings. 
  • Persons with medical conditions or religious exemption that prevent them from wearing a face covering, with appropriate documentation.  

For more information on social distancing, sanitation and other safety measures adopted by the school district, read the full plan here.

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