Coeur d’Alene Public Schools responds to parents planning to ignore face mask policy

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — Coeur d’Alene Public Schools issued a statement in response to parents saying they would send their kids to school without masks.

CDA Schools discussed on Monday the possibility of changing their policy from requiring face masks to just “strongly recommending” them later this month.

Some parents are not waiting around for that, however.

A Facebook event comprised of parents encouraged each other to send their children to school without masks. The event info reads: “Let’s take a stand against the school and stop letting them make choices for our kids. The mask mandates are all ended.”

One Coeur d’Alene parent who is a nurse and who wanted to remain anonymous, is encouraging families to participate in the protest.

“It’s up to them [students] whether they respectfully want to or not want to wear a mask,” the parent said. “It’s their choice.”

The CDC recommends masks in schools. It also states wearing a masks helps prevent us from catching and spreading COVID-19.

Another parent said it shouldn’t be up to the board to make a decision regarding masks.

“It should be up to us. It should be up to the parental rights,” said Nickole, a parent with children in the school district. “They are children. It should be up to us. It should be up to the kids as well.”

The school district plans on taking action if a student doesn’t wear a mask.

“I told them my personal choice, if they don’t want to wear the masks, they don’t have to. And if that means they get sent home then they can come home.”

Coeur d’Alene Schools issued a response, saying:

“As you may have seen or heard through various social media platforms, some of our students may be considering a protest at some of our schools. It would appear that this protest is in response to the ongoing masking conversation in our schools. School Board Policy 1207 clearly articulates that all students and staff shall be required to wear a mask while on school grounds.

On Monday, April 5th, our School Board discussed the possibility of changing language in this policy from ‘masks required’ to ‘masks strongly recommended,’ or continuing to leave the language as is. At that meeting, our School Board chose to wait for two weeks, review COVID-19 case data that comes in after spring break, and take up the issue again at a Board workshop on April 19th.

We fully understand that this issue is polarized in our community. We recognize that no student leaves their First Amendment rights at the front door when they enter their school. We also recognize there may be student interest in peacefully demonstrating against the mask requirement. We also want everyone to understand that our primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of others in our buildings and sustain the learning environment. Additionally, Policy 1207 is currently the governing guidance and is an expectation for students and staff in the school district.

Unless and until our School Board changes this policy, we respectfully ask all students and staff to adhere to the expectations of this policy. If students do not choose to adhere to the policy, we will work with them to help them try to understand the rules and expectations and why they currently are in place. Additionally, we will remind them that our Board will consider a change of status in this policy on April 19th. If students choose to violate this policy, or any other policy of the school district, they could be subject to our discipline policy.

We are grateful for your understanding, your patience and your collaboration as we navigate this pandemic together.”