Temperature checks will no longer be required and face coverings are just recommended in the Mackay School District after board members approved changes to their COVID-19 response plan at their May 10 meeting.

“We were told we have to have a plan in place for next year,” Superintendent Susan Buescher said in a separate interview. “This one is pretty neutralized.”

Buescher told board members the idea is to make the plan simpler. In the past, board members would have to meet and vote on any changes to the plan, based on recommendations made by Eastern Idaho Public Health officials. With the new language, Buescher said they can more easily adopt health district recommendations without having to vote.

The new plan continues to use color levels — green, yellow and now orange — to denote the level of awareness. At those three levels, physical distancing will be implemented when possible and reasonable. When it comes to requiring face masks, the new language states district workers will follow required guidelines in any state or local mandates that are in effect.

The red level remains the same. If Custer County has 19 or more active coronavirus cases, the school district will close, go to online learning and suspend extracurricular activities.

The amended plan includes new language on bus travel, overnight trips and trainings and outside use of district facilities. Masks will be required on buses if Custer County is in the yellow to red levels and two or more active cases for three consecutive days are reported in Mackay. When active cases drop below two for 10 consecutive days, masks will no longer be required on buses.

Overnight travel is allowed at the green level, with permission from Buescher or Principal Stephanie Green, if the trip destination has minimal spread of the virus. At the yellow level, only essential trips are allowed with the superintendent’s approval. As for red, no trips or trainings are allowed unless school board members approve them.

If people outside the district want to use school facilities, they must receive approval from Green or Buescher and meet local and state health guidelines, under the new plan. Only if the district is in the green level can facilities be used by someone else.

Board members acknowledged the amended plan is not permanent.

Board members held their meeting in person, but allowed people to call in to participate because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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