Coeur d’Alene School District dropping most COVID-19 protocols heading into new school year

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COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The Coeur d’Alene School District plans to drop most COVID-19 protocols heading into the upcoming school year. 

The school board voted unanimously to drop mask requirements, only require a quarantine period for those with a positive COVID test (no quarantine for exposures) and will not perform contact tracing. 

District spokesman Scott Maben said the district will rely on families to report if their student tests positive and while the district will not contact trace, the Panhandle Health District will still do so.

Maben said the decision to drop contact tracing was a result of it taking “too much manpower.” It also had an affect on student attendance. He said there were multiple students who repeatedly had to quarantine and it affected both their attendance and grades.

“There’s always a concern about COVID spreading in schools. We’re still concerned about that, but we’re really trying to strike more of a balance between ensuring students are in class as much as possible,” Maben said. “The school board is really trying to find that balance between the two. It is important, though, for people to self report. If you’re positive, stay home and isolate and get well and be in contact with the health department.”

The decision to drop these protocols comes as the state is dealing with a rising number of cases. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said testing positivity rates are once again rising across the state, with the majority of hospitalizations happening in unvaccinated people. 

Idaho ranks among the states with the lowest vaccination rates, with 37 percent of the state’s population have received two doses. 

The Coeur d’Alene School District dealt with several outbreaks this past school year; in May, three schools had to implement mask mandates after they were dropped district-wide because more than 400 students were in quarantine due to exposures.

The district confirmed to 4 News Now that employees and students will not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to class. 

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