Orofino,Idaho-Window on the Clearwater
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School Trustees split over mask issue in school opening plan

by Nancy C. Butler

Trustees of Joint School District #171 split over the issue of mandatory masks in the school opening plan, but three of the five members voted for 'universal face coverings' that could include plastic face shields, both in buildings and on buses.

At the suggestion of Trustee Greg Billups, Trustee Greg Gerot agreed to modify his motion to approve the draft opening plan to include the option of face shields for those who choose to wear them instead of a mask. Trustee Christine Erbst also voted 'aye'. Trustees Dr. Charity Robinson and Angie Pomponio voted 'nay' and Robinson commented that face shields are not as effective as masks.

Other measures for school opening which is scheduled for Aug. 26 are:

  • Distance Where Possible
  • Barriers for Main Entry Counters and Teacher Spaces
  • Doors Locked
  • No Visitors without Masks
  • Closed Campuses
  • All Illnesses Sent Home Immediately
  • Increased Routine Cleaning/Disinfecting
  • Teach and Implement Proper and Regular Hygiene

The items listed above will be implemented district wide to ensure the safety of staff and students. The district will be continuously evaluating their plans and will adjust if necessary, on a monthly basis.

The link below provides details that are a culmination of input and research from the community stakeholders as well as administration, faculty and staff. As a district they realize that not every decision will please every person but are confident the plans submitted will allow the district to open the doors to schools while maintaining the safety of students and staff. The plans are fluid and will be reviewed and modified monthly as necessary to keep up with the changing situations in local communities.


The next meeting of the school trustees is Aug. 17.

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140