EMMETT, Idaho — The Emmett Board of Trustees accepted Superintendent Craig Woods recommendation that face coverings be required for all students and staff. The vote was 4 to 1 and the requirement will be in place starting November 30 and ending December 18.
Trustee Mike Garner opposed the recommendation and voted no. The motion was made by Mike Kimball and Seconded by Trustee Chair Hoss White. Ross Walker and Ronnie Weekes voted in favor of the recommendation, but reluctantly, according to a news release.
Students who have documented health issues may be exempt. The release says students who do not want to follow the requirement may enroll in the Emmett Remote Academy program.
The trustees asked for two things to be researched and considered at a special board meeting set for November 30.
- Students and staff in close contact with a confirmed case and confirmed as wearing a mask during this contact will not be subjected to the mandatory quarantine as long the person is not showing symptoms of COVID-19
- Students and staff who have had COVID would be exempted from the face-covering requirement.
A survey given to parents, staff members and students was reviewed at the board meeting on Monday. 68 percent of 954 parents said classrooms should remain open for in-person learning. 42 percent of 195 staff members said yes and 66 percent of 400 secondary students also said yes.
On the survey question if schools remain in-person, would you support a school mandate for all staff and students wear masks, 46 percent of parents said yes. 64 percent of staff members and 40 percent of secondary students said yes.
The release says the surveys were designed to give administration and trustees some guidance.
“We’ve said all along that our No. 1 goal has been to keep all students in the classrooms for face-to-face learning while keeping students and staff safe,” Woods said.
Requiring face coverings is one way to help preserve that ability, Woods explained.
“I personally feel the Emmett School District must do our part to help slow the spread of the virus and take some of the strain off the health care facilities in Gem County and the Treasure Valley. The Emmett School District can continue to be a model of face-to-face instruction and provide a safe environment for teaching while also showing that we care for our greater community by requiring face coverings for a set period of time.”
In the Emmett School district for the past two weeks, 145 people are quarantined and 53 are suspected to have COVID-19, according to the release. There is one probable case and 26 confirmed cases.
Nurses with the Emmett School District are trained to test students and staff for COVID-19 and submit samples to Crush the Curve for results. Since October 1, the district hast tested around 150 students and staff members, according to the release.