Boise trustees to consider lifting mask mandate

Boise School District trustees will meet Monday, to consider rescinding the district’s mask mandate.

The meeting comes three weeks after the state’s second-largest district announced a plan to drop the mask mandate — effective March 28, after Spring Break. It also comes as new coronavirus cases have slowed rapidly, in Boise schools and in the community.

Through Friday, Boise schools have reported only 13 coronavirus cases, and no quarantines. During the heart of the omicron variant surge, in a seven-day period ending Jan. 23, Boise reported 952 positive cases and 529 quarantines.

Other factors also entered into the timing of Monday’s meeting: relaxed Centers for Disease Control mask guidelines, issued last week, reduced school absentee rates and declining hospitalization rates.

Boise has operated under a mask mandate for the entire 2021-22 school year. That has made Boise an outlier among Idaho school districts; the neighboring West Ada district phased out its mask mandate in November, for example, while the Nampa district lifted its mandate in May.

The Boise School District would not be the first public agency to respond to the new CDC guidelines. Boise State University and the University of Idaho eased its mask mandates this week, and on Friday, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean lifted mask requirements for city facilities.

The board is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Monday. While trustees will discuss relaxed pandemic protocols, in-person attendance will be limited to 20 people, and masks will still be required for the meeting. Patrons are encouraged to attend the meeting virtually.

Written comments will be accepted through 8 a.m. Monday; here’s the comment link.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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