When Custer County returned to the minimal-risk category related to the coronavirus, it prompted officials with the Challis and Mackay school districts to return to the green phases of their operating plans.
While the Mackay district had no active cases as of Sept. 25, according to Superintendent Susan Buescher, Challis Superintendent Lani Rembelski confirmed there were three active cases within the district that day.
Following procedures laid out in the COVID-19 response plan, Rembelski said they tracked all the people within the district who had contact with the patients who tested positive and told them to stay home. Rembelski declined to release any more information, stating it is a matter of protecting the identity of the students and staffers.
Buescher confirmed one of the active cases is a Challis junior high football player. On Saturday, Sept. 19, when the Challis and Mackay junior high football teams played one another, Buescher said one of the Challis players had the virus. According to Eastern Idaho Public Health’s website, health officials confirmed a Custer County teenage boy was confirmed to have the virus on Sept. 21.
This was the most recent brush the Mackay district had with the virus, Buescher said, but “we’re just waiting for round 2.”
Buescher said it’s important to share information and keep people informed, but she agreed with Rembelski about protecting private information during a pandemic. Just how much school administrators should be sharing with others about confirmed cases within schools is a difficult subject, she said, complicated by the facts it’s medical information and it involves minors.
So far, Idaho school district administrators have been allowed to decide how much information they share about active cases within their districts. Some, like Pocatello Chubbuck School District No. 25, actively informs people via its website.