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Middleton school board ends district's face mask policy

Derek Moore's motion ended schools' power to require face masks but students and staff could still be asked to wear one.

BOISE, Idaho — During Monday night's Middleton School District board of trustees meeting, one board member explained that the mask mandate for the district's students and staff should be lifted.

The policy was first instated in October when Canyon County was one of the biggest COVID-19 hotspots in Idaho and the school district still wanted to bring students back to classrooms full time. The motion to lift the district's current face mask mandate language was introduced by Derek Moore.

When the current policy was first written, Canyon County was averaging about 40 cases per day. Now, it sits around 22 a day. Middleton's incidence rate is at about 1.4 per 10,000, according to Southwest District Health.

Other board members recognized some teachers' concerns about getting the coronavirus so the board gave them the option to require masks in their classrooms.

"We would lift the mask mandate and leave everything else the same and add the wording, we would request that parents, students, and staff respect the concerns that others have shared," one board member said Monday night. "If you are asked to wear a mask please be respectful."

The motion to lift the mask mandate language passed with a 4-1 vote, with trustee Jake Dempsey being the sole nay vote. Dempsey previously mentioned that he was concerned that there would be social media backlash to the decision.

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