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Local school district clarifies mask policy following changes in Bonneville County mask mandate

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The following is a news release from Idaho Falls School District 91 Superintendent George Boland.

IDAHO FALLS – Eastern Idaho Public Health has officially lifted the restrictions in Bonneville County, including the mandate requiring masks or face coverings. Idaho Falls School District 91 will continue to recommend and encourage all students, teachers, parents and staff to wear masks in our schools when social distancing is not possible, as outlined in our COVID-19 Operational Plan.

I received a number of calls and emails from parents today (Monday) saying they were told no one needs to wear a mask in our schools anymore. That is not the message we intended to convey so I want to review the specific language regarding face coverings in our current COVID-19 Operational Plan.

RELATED | Face mask order lifted in Bonneville County but public health officials still urging caution

  • Everyone is expected to wear a face-covering in common areas, hallways, during transitions and when arriving/leaving school. In classrooms, face coverings are up to the discretion of a teacher, but would be required when a city, county or state mask order is in effect and/or social distancing isn’t possible.
  • Social distancing on buses will be difficult. Students will be required to wear masks on the bus. Parents could also consider alternate transportation such as having children walk or bike when weather permits.

RELATED | Idaho Falls School District 91 receives first dose of COVID-19 vaccine much earlier than planned

The Board of Trustees is expected to discuss this issue when it meets at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Until we receive additional direction from the board, we will continue following the plan the trustees adopted last fall. In addition, we will continue to encourage and recommend the proper wearing of masks because:

  • It will limit the number of students who are impacted when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. If both parties are properly wearing masks, the individual in close contact with the positive case DOES NOT need to miss school or isolate, according to the latest quarantine guidelines from the State Board of Education.
  • While the mandate has been lifted in Bonneville County, EIPH still recommends … “that in order to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19, individuals should stay home when they are sick, wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, maintain a physical distance of six feet from others outside of one’s household, and wear masks or cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

If you have questions, please let me know. We will provide additional updates after Wednesday’s board meeting. The meeting will be live-streamed via WebEx. A link will be posted on the district website and the D91Proud Facebook page. If you would like to submit input to the board, you can drop it off at the district office or submit it electronically to Brandi Moreno at Morebran@sd91.org. Input must be received by Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m.

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