Idaho Dispatch

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Caldwell School District Implements Mask Mandate, Payette High Goes Online Only

By • September 5, 2021

Schools are back in session, and the debate over whether to require masks or not is still ongoing.

At this time, many school districts are not requiring masks for students. However, West Ada requires masks but allows students to opt out of wearing one if their parents turn in an exemption form.

Last week, Caldwell School District decided they would require masks, but no exception is available.

The Caldwell School District is one of the few school districts that Idaho Dispatch is aware of with a masking requirement for students. Caldwell’s masking policy covers all personnel entering the school.

Idaho Dispatch asked the parent whose child is in the Caldwell School District that notified us of the policy and wished to remain anonymous how they felt about the mandate. Here is what they said,

While there is a lot to say on this topic, what it boils down to is this – health choices belong with parents. Based upon the board meeting, it appears the mandate was fueled by the personal opinions of some of the board members. They used the number of children absent to support the mandate yet Dr. French admitted they do not know if children are absent because of COVID. The board members that voted in favor of the mandate have negligently made a decision for all children while not having any knowledge of the individual health risks or needs.

Advocates for the policy say that masks are necessary to fight the spread of Covid-19. However, some opposed to the mask mandate say that masks are not effective at stopping the Coronavirus, while others say that wearing a mask should be left up to the child and their parents.

Many schools and school districts in Idaho, according to parents from various districts across the state, told Idaho Dispatch that the school their child attends are not requiring masks for students at this time. Some of the school districts/schools mentioned were Cole Valley Christian, Kuna School District, Kendrick, Dietrich, Pocatello, Lewiston, Jefferson, and more. (Note: Idaho Dispatch has not independently verified if there are any changes to each of the districts mentioned, and parents should ensure what the current policy is for their own children.)

Other parents told Idaho Dispatch that their school district required masks for students such as West Ada School District, Caldwell School District, Bliss, McCall-Donnelly, Boise, and others.

While some schools and school districts are still debating the mask issue, one school has gone to online learning only this week.

Payette High School said that due to a surge in Corovnavirus cases, classes would only meet online. According to the school, students will not return to in-person learning until September 13th.

The school said in a letter that a “cluster” of cases had forced them to close the school for deep cleaning and disinfecting.

Tags: Caldwell School District, Covid-19, Masks, Payette High School