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KSD drops mask requirement

| April 27, 2021 9:02 PM

KELLOGG — The Kellogg School District unanimously voted to change the mask policy in their Back to School Plan from required to recommended during a special session on Tuesday night.

Protestors gathered outside the district office, including a few with signs that they pushed up against the windows of the meeting room, while a handful of them reluctantly agreed to wear masks in order to be inside the meeting room for the decision.

After hearing from representatives from the Panhandle Health District as well as a written statement from KSD Superintendent Dr. Nancy Larsen, who also read the proposed change to the plan, a motion was made to approve the changes by Trustee Carolyn Turner and then seconded by Trustee Sam Gibbons.

There were concerns over a recent spike in cases in Shoshone County, which had dropped back into the moderate (orange) category of the PHD’s Four Levels of COVID-19 Risk last week, but had since returned to the minimal (yellow) category.

The official language of the facial covering change is as follows: The use of facial coverings will be highly recommended for staff, students and visitors. Those who choose to wear a mask should be free of any retaliation by any other individual while on school property and appropriate actions will be taken if incidents occur. All other remediation methods listed above will be strongly encouraged to keep students and staff in school and well. When working in close contact with an individual student, a staff member can request the use of a mask or to social distance where appropriate.

This ends roughly two weeks of contentious atmosphere between the KSD, their board of trustees, and some of their patrons, all of whom hope that the changes made Tuesday night don’t affect any of the remaining events for the 2020/21 school year.

KSD was the final district in Shoshone County, as well as the Panhandle Health District region (Idaho’s five northern counties) to rescind their mandates.

A full reading of the changes to the plan can be found at www.kelloggschools.org.