Challis school board members officially made completing a senior project a requirement for 2021 graduates at their Nov. 10 meeting after State Board of Education partially waived the requirement for seniors across Idaho.

“They’ve been putting in the work,” senior project coordinator and Challis teacher Debbie Sheppeard told board members before their unanimous vote. “It would be kind of unfair to tell them it was all for nothing.”

Sheppeard said earlier this month it wouldn’t be advantageous to cut the requirement for the sake of getting students to graduate. State board members said their action was designed to give Idaho districts the option to drop the requirement to lighten the load on students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheppeard said that might be the case in districts where remote learning is taking place, but since Challis students are at school, seniors are on track to get their projects finished for their showcase Dec. 10.

Challis High Principal Kari Alexander said students need to continue with the requirement. Beyond being an assignment for graduation, Alexander said students learn valuable job market skills like giving a presentation and creating résumés.

According to Sheppeard, the majority of Challis seniors are on schedule with their projects.

Few people at the school board meeting wore face coverings. Rembelski, Trustee Janiel Parkinson and district employee Shawna Getty covered their faces as did one person in the audience. Even with Custer County being at minimal risk of spreading COVID-19 at the time of the meeting, health officials say masks should always been worn in public to slow the spread.