JEROME, Idaho — The Jerome School District says they will require face coverings for all staff and students for the upcoming school year.
As Idaho News 6 has reported, the original plan was to highly recommend, but not require masks.
In a letter to parents, the district explained the decision came after a discussion with local health officials.
"After much discussion and consultation with South Central District Health Department and a local physician it was determined that in a good faith effort to keep students and staff healthy, face coverings will be required of all staff and students," the letter read. "We understand there are medical exceptions that will be considered. The hope is that by taking these measures at this time we can prevent school closures down the road, which further disrupts the educational process as well as family schedules."
The district is pushing back the first day of school for students to September 8 in order to give parents more time if they've changed their minds about face-to-face or online instruction.
"Due to this change, we anticipate some families changing their mind one way or the other on having their student attend face-to-face instruction or online," the letter said. "To give our secretaries and counselors time to make schedule changes, the school start date for students has been delayed until September 8, 2020. Daily instructional time will be adjusted to make up for the lost two weeks."
The district's back to school plan looks fairly similar to the rest of region four. The plan centers around four, color-coded levels based on the amount of community spread in the area.
The four levels are:
- Green: Means it's business as usual for the schools, with in-person classes and typical school protocols
- Yellow: Stricter focus on COVID-19 precautions (social distancing etc.)
- Orange: A "hybrid" between online and in person. Half the students would be in-person and the other half would be learning online. It would rotate on an "A" day "B" day type schedule.
- Red: Complete return to distance learning (similar to what we saw this spring)
The Jerome School Board announced school will start in the yellow category, meaning all students except those doing remote learning will be attending school face-to-face.
The district posted their full "back to school" plan on their website.