Shortly after the College of Eastern Idaho ended its school year, it also ended the requirements for face masks and social distancing on campus.
The Board of Trustees met May 14 and voted to end both of those COVID-19 policies as of Monday. CEI encourages its staff and students to get vaccinated and to choose to wear masks if they are unvaccinated and want extra protection.
College President Rick Aman said school officials had decided early in the semester to reconsider the mask requirement after graduation. The virtual graduation, which happened last Thursday evening, happened to fall on the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new, less restrictive guidelines for when face masks should be worn.
“I think we’ve really turned a corner and the overriding factor for that is vaccines. They have proven to be efficacious and are broadly available now,” Aman said.
In total, the college self-reported 135 cases among its students and 68 cases among its staff since the school year began in August. The college has reported no cases of the virus among its students and staff during the final two weeks of the school year.
CEI is not completely doing away with the preventative measures against COVID-19. The school will still perform contact tracing for anyone who tested positive for the virus after being on campus. Unofficial attempts at social distancing may take place over the summer, while fewer students and events are happening at the school.
“Anyone can still wear a mask if they wish. We will be respectful of anyone who continues to do that,” Aman said.
As for the next school year, Aman said the board of trustees will consider returning the mask mandate if cases spike and Eastern Idaho Public Health changes the status of Bonneville County but he hoped vaccines would make that unlikely to happen.