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Nampa School District to make face coverings optional

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Posted at 8:34 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 10:06:56-04

NAMPA, Idaho  — Face masks for students in the Nampa School District are now fully optional.

The Nampa School District Board of Trustees decided to make masks optional for the remainder of the school year, effective immediately, in a 3-2 vote. An earlier motion to keep masks mandatory in the classroom but optional during lunch and recess optional failed 2-3.

“For every kid that doesn’t want to wear a mask. I can tell you there’s a kid who is frightened when the other kids don’t wear their masks and have anxiety about it, and it’s for very different reasons. Some don’t want to get sick themselves, some live with grandma and grandpa, and they don’t want to take it home with them,” said Mandy Simpson Chair and Board of Trustee Nampa School District.

Trustees Betsy Keller, Allison Westfall and Kim Rost all voted in favor of making masks optional, while Board Chair Mandy Simpson and Trustee Mike Kipp voted against the motion.

"We don’t know everyone's personal stories and everyone has a different one, so let’s be kind, let’s be mindful let’s understand that if one person's choice is not to wear a mask that works for them. Great, let’s smile and honor that. If it’s someone else that they do need that for different reasons that people expressed, great let’s nod and smile and move on, " said Kim Rost, board of trustee.

During the meeting, survey results regarding school staff, students, and parent preferences on mask requirement for the end of the school year was presented to the board.

The results showed a little more than 46% of school staff favor masks to be optional for the remainder of the school year, but 55.5% prefer them to be optional during summer school.

Related: Nampa School Board special meeting on mask policy ends abruptly amid public input

The meeting took place less than a week after the Board of Trustees held a special meeting to discuss the mask policy that was quickly ended during the public input.

Watch the May 17 full board meeting here.