West Ada sees small increase in mask opt-out numbers for students

West Ada School District parents continued over the past seven days to submit mask opt-out forms to the district office or their own schools, but at a slower rate than in weeks before.

About 36% of West Ada’s 40,000 students have chosen to turn in opt-out forms, making mask-wearing optional for them. The rate grew by just three percentage points from Aug. 31.

Most schools saw a two or three percentage point increase over the last seven days. Meridian Academy (13% to 24%) and Meridian High (25% to 35%) saw more dramatic changes.

Paramount Elementary has a 63% opt-out rate, the highest in the district. It is one of nine West Ada schools with an opt-out rate of more than half of its students. Six schools have an opt-out rate lower than 20%.

The state’s largest school district made masks optional for students at an Aug. 24 meeting, so long as their parent or legal guardian fills out an opt-out form.

Staff members are not required to wear masks, or complete an opt-out form

West Ada Chief Human Resources Officer Dave Roberts sent an email to staff on Friday, clarifying district policy. Some building leaders gave teachers and other staff members opt-out forms to complete, unnecessarily, Roberts wrote. The opt-out forms are only necessary for students.

“We do not think an opt-out form is necessary for any staff, based on our current practices,” Roberts wrote.

His communication went on to encourage teachers to:

  • Sanitize your hands as you enter the classroom.
  • Space student desks as much as possible.
  • Pod students in your classrooms where distancing is not possible.
  • Remind students to maintain distance between each other as much as possible.
  • Remind students NOT TO SHARE laptops or computer keyboards, drinks, food, snacks, gum, writing utensils, tissues, face masks, make-up, chap stick, eating utensils, musical instruments, or personal items.
  • Student desks, chairs, keyboards, or other items frequently touched at the student’s desk should be cleaned between use by different students.

Roberts also encouraged teachers to wear a mask as much as possible and “always if you are going to be within six (6) feet of students or other staff members.”

West Ada’s current school-by-school student opt-out percentages are as follows:

  • Andrus Elementary: 33%
  • Barbara Morgan STEM Academy: 27%
  • Centennial High: 21%
  • Central Academy: 20%
  • Chaparral Elementary: 30%
  • Chief Joseph Elementary: 33%
  • Christine Donnell School of the Arts: 35%
  • Crossroads Middle: 28%
  • Desert Sage Elementary: 18%
  • Discovery Elementary: 34%
  • Eagle Academy: 22%
  • Eagle Elementary: 51%
  • Eagle High: 50%
  • Eagle Hills Elementary: 45%
  • Eagle Middle: 49%
  • Frontier Elementary: 16%
  • Galileo STEM Academy: 49%
  • Heritage Middle: 45%
  • Hillsdale Elementary: 44%
  • Hunter Elementary: 56%
  • Idaho Fine Arts Academy: 39%
  • Joplin Elementary: 33%
  • Lake Hazel Elementary: 35%
  • Lake Hazel Middle: 28%
  • Lewis & Clark Middle: 26%
  • Lowell Scott Middle: 22%
  • Mary McPherson Elementary: 36%
  • McMillan Elementary: 18%
  • Meridian Academy: 24%
  • Meridian Elementary 21%
  • Meridian High: 35%
  • Meridian Middle: 32%
  • Mountain View High: 33%
  • Owyhee High: 52%
  • Paramount Elementary: 63%
  • Pathways Middle: 34%
  • Pepper Ridge Elementary: 28%
  • Peregrine Elementary: 25%
  • Pioneer Elementary: 30%
  • Pleasant View Elementary: 54%
  • Ponderosa Elementary: 41%
  • Prospect Elementary: 42%
  • Rebound High: 17%
  • Renaissance High: 19%
  • River Valley Elementary: 29%
  • Rocky Mountain High: 44%
  • Sawtooth Middle: 54%
  • Seven Oaks Elementary: 41%
  • Siena Elementary: 35%
  • Silver Sage Elementary: 22%
  • Spalding Elementary: 26%
  • Star Elementary 54%
  • Star Middle: 53%
  • Summerwind Elementary: 20%
  • Ustick Elementary: 17%
  • Victory Middle: 39%
  • Virtual School House (online only): 2%
  • Willow Creek Elementary: 44%

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