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Idaho Falls School District 91 removes mask mandate


IDAHO FALLS — Masks will now be optional in Idaho Falls School District 91.

During a special board meeting Monday, trustees voted to abandon its COVID-19 Operational Plan, which included a mask mandate for staff and students.

The decision comes at a time when mask mandates are being rescinded across the state, due to new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks except when in healthcare settings, on public transportation, or in other areas where governments require masks.

“While the district is lifting the mask mandate, students and staff who have not been immunized are encouraged to continue wearing masks when social distancing is not possible,” Superintendent George Boland said in an email to parents about the change.

All members of the board voted to abandon the plan and the mask mandate except Trustee Elizabeth Cogliati.

In March, Eastern Idaho Public Health opted to stop issuing mask mandates in eastern Idaho. Instead, they encouraged individuals, businesses, schools and others to implement proper safety protocols and be personally responsible. As COVID-19 case numbers continued to fall across the region over the last few weeks, schools with mask requirements have removed their mandates.

“If we look at the surrounding districts and when they removed theirs I don’t think we will see your concern about it being a catalyst in increasing (COVID-19) cases,” Trustee Paul Hackee said during the board meeting.

In order to receive additional federal funding next year, the board said during the meeting that they need to address a safe return to school plan. The board expects to discuss the plan in July.

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