MIDDLETON, Idaho — The Middleton School Board of Trustees voted 4-0 to require students and staff to wear face coverings anytime social distancing is not feasible. This, as the district shifts to district-wide in-person learning.
The board told the district administration at the October 12 special meeting that district-wide face coverings would be required. There was no vote on a specific requirement at that meeting, leaving the administration without something to enforce.
The requirement is effective immediately, according to a news release from the district. Kindergarten through 5th-grade students and Middleton Academy returned to in-person school full-time on October 26.
Middle and high school students are scheduled to return on November 16. Right now, those students are in class for two days a week, and the rest of the school work is done in virtual settings on their off days.
According to the release, the vote backs up the requirement and requires school administrators to send students home if they do not appropriately wear a face covering to class. Students are allowed to return to school once they comply with the face-covering requirement.
According to the new requirement, the only time that students would not have to wear face coverings is when everyone can appropriately social distance. Trustees said that with the colder weather coming, that probably wouldn't happen often.
"The face-covering requirement is an effort to keep the schools open," said Trustee Jake Dempsey during the meeting. "An opinion is not going to supersede the standard. We hope the community understands. It is to keep the schools operating at 100 percent for all students."
At the meeting, Trustees also answered Middle Education Association questions about reopening. The news release says the MEA filed a grievance on October 14, stating the group had not been included in the conversation before reopening schools for all students. The current contract states the board will include the MEA in discussions.
The trustees said the MEA would be included in future conversations and decisions. One trustee said he would call the MEA president when there are changes to be considered.
The district has to fill several vacancies, including nine full-time and part-time unique education positions. You can find a link to those positions here.