CALDWELL, Idaho — Students and staff members will no longer be required to wear a face covering in the classroom, following a vote by the Caldwell School District Board of Trustees Monday night.
The board members voted unanimously to recommend face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19, but to remove the wording that made masks mandatory. The move comes after the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
The school board voted in August to require masks after a surge in COVID-19 infections in Canyon County and a high rate of student absences. The trustees extended the requirement again in mid-October, after crisis standards of care were expanded statewide.
The lifting of the mandate will go into effect Tuesday.
"The Board will continue to review COVID-19 data and absentee reports for both students and staff. The Board will revisit the mask expectation in the coming weeks if necessary," Superintendent N Shalene French wrote in a letter to parents. "The goal of the district is to keep school open and students attending every day."
Parents are asked to keep their children home if they are sick, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or are waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test. Masks will remain required for visitors to a school or district office.
It's unclear how many students and teachers will opt to continue wearing a mask with the requirement lifted. Several principals who addressed the board in October reported that about 20% of students and 75%-80% of staff members wore a mask before the mandate was put in place.
"We appreciate your partnership during this challenging time," French wrote.
At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.
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