Caldwell School Board approves temporary mask requirement

Posted at 10:02 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 08:55:55-04

CALDWELL, Idaho — Caldwell School District students and staff will have to wear masks indoors after the Board of Trustees passed a motion during a special board meeting Monday.

The mask requirement will start on September 1 and last until October 14. Some schools within the district had already required masks, including Caldwell High School, Washington, and Lincoln Elementary Schools. Wilson Elementary started its own mask requirement for students and staff Monday in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19.

RELATED: Caldwell High School requiring face masks, veers from district's recommendation

During the meeting, district principals addressed the board on what percentage of students and staff were wearing masks and how many students were placed in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19, absences due to illness, and the school’s enrollment numbers.

Canyon Springs High School Principal Christy McMillan told the board there was an increase in students who have been absent while waiting for COVID-19 test results or from being in quarantine.

“Most all are asymptomatic. It just seems to be snowballing rather quickly. I did quarantine a classroom today because of evidence of substantial spread among the students in that room and positive tests," McMillan said. "As far as mask-wearing, we have probably 80 percent of the staff that is wearing masks and maybe 20 percent of our students at this point."

Related: West Ada School District to require face masks, gives parents opt-out choice

Some principals told the board they were seeing an increase in school staff wearing a mask.

“The last couple of days, you notice more kids asking for masks. Staff, now that they've probably seen in their classrooms, 'Oh wow, that's weird, they have a class of 13 kids,' because it's really uncomfortable. Once they've seen that all around them, we are probably at 88 percent of masking. The vast majority of our staff is vaccinated,” said Sacajawea Elementary School Principal Paul Webster.

Related: West Ada, Caldwell drop mask requirements

Face coverings will be required on school buses as well. The board is scheduled to meet again September 13.

To watch the full meeting, click here.