Superintendent tells Mayor school district will not comply with mask mandate
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VICTOR — Teton School District 401 will not comply with the city of Victor’s mask mandate.
Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme wrote Victor Mayor Will Frohlich a letter saying the district consulted with legal counsel and determined the city has no jurisdiction over the school’s mask policies. Woolstenhulme explained the district will follow its Safe Return to School plan approved by the Board of Trustees and not Victor’s ordinance requiring masks inside public settings.
“The decision on how to best balance the need to effectively educate students and to protect their health and safety while in school is best left to the school board and its administrators,” Woolstenhulme wrote. “The balancing of education and student health is much different, in both kind and degree, than the balancing of such activities as shopping or dining out with public health.”
Frohlich voiced his concern to the District’s refusal to follow the city ordinance.
“I am disappointed by the Superintendent’s refusal to comply with our masking requirements when our collective goal should be to keep our schools open and our children safe,” Frohlich said in a news release. “School districts all over the country are reopening and requiring masks for teachers, staff, and students. The Delta variant is extremely dangerous and should be taken seriously. Since children under 12 cannot be vaccinated, wearing a mask will help protect them from the Delta variant and any other respiratory viruses they may be exposed to.”
Frohlich says the city attorney is currently reviewing the letter from Teton School District.
Frohlich issued his order requiring masks on Thursday. The order requires everyone to wear a mask or face covering when inside a public setting. The order specifically listed offices, retail stores, restaurants and bars, local government offices and schools within the City of Victor “regardless of vaccination status.”
“Face coverings are one of our most effective tools in this pandemic. Increasing our use of masks within the community is the easiest and best way to protect the health of our citizens from the Delta variant while still allowing our businesses to remain open and preventing our health care system from collapsing,” Frohlich said when issuing the mask mandate.
Data from Eastern Idaho Public Health indicates Teton County has 42 active COVID-19 cases with 34.6 per 10,000 people active cases as of Friday evening.