Coeur d’Alene School Board passes reopening plan, will not require masks in class

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COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho –Coeur d’Alene public schools have only been in school for a week, but they are already dealing with an influx of COVID-19 cases among students. 

Masks are recommended in class, but not required. On Monday, the school board met to finalize the reopening plan. 

The board voted 3-2 to strongly recommend masks, but not require them.

Follow our live blog below for updates:

7:10 p.m. — Sept. 13, 2021

The reopening plan is approved with the edit masking will be strongly recommended, but not required.

7:02 p.m. — Sept. 13, 2021

Lisa May is not supportive of the reopening plan because of not only masking but the vaccination rate. People started jeering at May and Brumley asked people to be respectful. May says if we could implement more mitigation strategies, we could get a handle on the cases. She says this is putting our community at risk.

6:51 p.m. –Sept. 13, 2021

Chairman Brumley says she wants the plan to say masks are strongly recommended, but not required. She says board members in support of masking have been intimidated and bullied. She says those against it have been intimidated and threatened with lawsuits.

6:45 p.m. –Sept. 13, 2021

In regards to testing, the superintendent says there is no testing site at schools. They’re promoting testing at other places if they need it. They have not partnered with the state grant to have a testing program at schools.

6:35 p.m. –Sept. 13, 2021

The reopening plan is being presented for discussion now. Board member May asked about current student exposures from COVID. There are 188 students in quarantine. However, the superintendent says 167. The dashboard shows a different number.

6:02 p.m. Sept. 13, 2021

Public comment is over. There is still have some time before the board gets to the reopening plan agenda item.

5:20 p.m. Sept. 13, 2021

Public comment starts. The chairwoman goes over the rules, saying public comment will be limited to three minutes a person. She also asked the audience to stay neutral.

5 p.m.- Sept. 13, 2021

The meeting starts.

The district is looking at a plan to mitigate outbreaks and avoid school closures. That plan, which is only a draft, includes the following:

  • Masks will be available at schools
  • Students must stay at least three feet away from each other when in the classroom
  • If someone tests positive, the district will offer testing to see who has been exposed.
  • Students who have to quarantine will still be able to learn at home

Unfortunately, many have already had to quarantine because of exposure or testing positive. 

Between September 6-12, 68 people tested positive for COVID-19. The majority of those cases are from Lake City and Coeur d’Alene High Schools. 

On Monday alone, 19 people tested positive. Out of the entire district, 187 students and 13 staff members are in quarantine because they tested positive or were exposed. 

District Spokesman Scott Mabin said the fight over a mask mandate has been a 3-2 split among board members since June. It will likely be discussed Monday night, though it is not clear if anything will change. 

RELATED: Class is back in session with fewer COVID-19 rules for students in Coeur d’Alene

READ: 4 News Now Q&A: Why hasn’t a COVID vaccine been approved for younger kids yet?