BCHS not requiring masks at school start

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Beaverhead County High School students may be able to breathe an unimpeded sigh of relief – for now – as they are not required to wear masks to school.

Mask usage is recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors, due to the rise of the highly-contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. Those recommendations are for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The high school is returning to in-person learning, and is implementing CDC guidelines to help mitigate the spread of the virus. These measures include keeping students socially distanced, regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and encouraging regular handwashing and hand sanitization throughout the school day among all attendees.

The school board removed the “opt out” options this year, which previously allowed students to participate in school activities but “opt out” of in-person instruction. Now, students must be in attendance to participate. Remote learning is still available, however, if students are in isolation or quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or being considered a close contact.

Other than those changes, students will not see many differences from last year. School drinking fountains will still be turned off, though bottle-fill stations will be working. The district still has levels of instruction based on the need to limit people inside buildings if there is an outbreak (such as A/B scheduling), and district staff will inform parents about any changes prior to implementation.

Students will be temperature-checked in the first period, and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Students with symptoms will be evaluated prior to being sent home. Late students must report to the office to be temperature checked before heading to their classes. The district has a designated “isolation” area to keep students, staff or visitors who exhibit COVIDlike symptoms, until they can be evaluated and sent home if necessary.

The guidelines may change, depending on the severity of area COVID-19 outbreaks.