August 12, 2021
Dear Boise School District Parents, Patrons and Staff,
Over the past few days, there has been a lot of misinformation regarding the Board’s recent decision to update the District’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan to require masks for the start of the school year. We hope this note will clear up any confusion.
First, the vast majority of feedback we have received from parents and teachers has been in favor of the decision. Many are as disappointed as we are that Covid case rates are increasing at an alarming pace, and that we have to return to masking. However, universal masking decreases the number of staff and students who will have to quarantine. Ultimately, as much as universal masking feels like a step back, staff and families are clear that our first priority is to be in person five days a week for the school year.
Second, we have heard the concerns from parents who are frustrated, disappointed, and, in many cases, angry with our decision. Unfortunately, the emotion over the use of masks has clouded the fact that, while the Board has acted quickly to respond to this evolving pandemic, the deliberations have been conducted openly and in accordance with our District values of respect, dignity, honesty, responsibility and teamwork.
As we’ve witnessed several times during the COVID-19 pandemic, local health data, expert guidance and overall parental opinion can and has changed almost overnight. While our survey conducted in late June indicated that parents prioritized efforts such as hand-washing over masks, more than 60% of parents were very clear that they wanted the Board to closely monitor the situation and act accordingly, including revisiting the use of face coverings and/or masks. Such was certainly the case in the administration’s recommendation and Board’s decision regarding masking in schools. In less than three weeks we saw dramatic increases in positive cases, community spread, as well as a greater sense of urgency from medical professionals and parents for the District to take a more proactive role in our response to combat this growing health crisis.
We greatly appreciate any parent who takes an active role in their child’s education. Thank you for your continued input and involvement. Of course, if you have any questions about accommodations or compliance at your child’s school, please talk to your principal. We look forward to working with you as we begin the new school year.
Boise School Board of Trustees
Boise School District Administration