BOISE, Idaho — For a lot of parents and students, going back to school typically means buying new pencils, notebooks and a backpack. This year, parents in Ada County will need to make sure their students also have a mask.
“We added that to our supply list and we've provided tips for parents,” said Allison Westfall, spokesperson for Kuna School District.
When students in Ada County return to school on August 27, they'll be required to wear a face covering. It’s something the district is urging parents to start helping their kids with now.
“They can begin practicing with their kids to become comfortable wearing a mask and how to properly use it and they can help kids pick out masks that properly reflect their personalities as well,” Westfall said.
This comes after Central District Health voted on Tuesday to clarify its original mask mandate to now include schools.
“We've tried a mask with him multiple times and it ends up poking him in the eye and he tries biting at it because he doesn’t understand why he needs to wear this, and he can’t breathe very well and has not been able to move it himself,” said Amber Grant, a parent of two students with special needs.
She's concerned about what the mandate now means for her kids.
“I just think that the rules need to be different for disabled individuals because they do not have the same abilities, they have more limitations and things they cannot do and ways they cannot advocate for themselves,” Grant said. “We just need to identify with how we feel in those moments to how these individuals feel but can’t communicate it and can’t help themselves.”
Both the Boise and Kuna school districts told KTVB that there are some exemptions when it comes to students wearing masks. One exemption listed by the CDC states that cloth face coverings shouldn't be placed on anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a mask without help.
As for kids with special needs, the Kuna School District said teachers and administrators will be working with those families in those very unique situations.
Right now, both districts are still working to answer a lot of questions parents might have. The Boise School District told KTVB that they’re striving to take an education-first approach and spread awareness of the rules regarding face coverings.
“You know there are a lot of what-ifs," Westfall said. "We are expecting kids to arrive to school with their face coverings and to follow the directions to wear them."
Currently, the Boise School District has 90,000 masks on the way, which will be distributed if need be once the school year starts, according to spokesperson Dan Hollar.
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