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Health officials react to schools loosening COVID protocols

Posted at 9:43 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 23:43:10-04

TWIN FALLS — School districts across the Magic Valley have and are continuing to loosen COVID restrictions for staff and students. Some changes have been scheduling changes from hybrid models to in-person learning for the whole week.

The Blaine County board of trustees is one of the districts that recently voted to bring back elementary students five days a week starting April 12th. They also recently brought high school and middle school students back into the classroom four days a week, with Friday serving as a hybrid learning day.

Some districts are looking into changing their masking policies. The Twin Falls School District just moved back into its green protocol after the health district marked the county at the minimal risk level, making change a possibility once again.

Superintendent Brady Dickinson said, “Within the green protocol, as it was designed last summer, it calls for those face covering to no longer be required but for those to be optional.”

While it may come as shock to some residents that multiple districts are loosening restrictions all at once, these plans have been in place for the past year with different protocols for each risk level a district is in.

“Each time we’ve made that change from one color designation to another, the board has come together. They’ve looked at all the most current information that’s available and ultimately decided what path to take,” said Dickinson.

Opinions have been split about COVID protocols in the classroom. Some people think making facemasks a requirement, and other such precautions are too much. Other people feel that more can be done to ensure the safety of staff and students.

However many would agree that they just things back to normal, including members of the health district. Public Information Officer for the South Central Public Health District, Brianna Bodily said, “Everyone in the health district lives in this community too. We are all humans and residents who want our community to go back to normal just as much if not more than anybody else does.”

Yet those health officials still worry about districts loosening COVID safety measures.“From the health district's perspective, we haven’t reached herd immunity yet. We still have a variant, we have several variants circulating in Idaho right now. There is a lot of concern about this disease making a resurgence in our community," said Bodily.

Although all eight counties in the Magic Valley are at the minimal COVID risk level, the concern has grown as areas outside of the Magic Valley have experienced a rise in cases.

Officials from the health district want people to remain vigilant to keep COVID at bay.

Bodily said, “Continue to take precautions. Protect your health, protect the health of the people around you so that we can continue to keep this disease away from us long enough that we can reach herd immunity through that vaccine so that we can keep it away for good.”

The Twin Falls School District board of trustees will be deciding on the district-wide mask policy in a meeting tomorrow starting at 7:00 pm which can be accessed through their website.