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News >  Higher education

North Idaho College board sets special meeting to discuss mask mandate, president’s contract

Aug. 24, 2021 Updated Tue., Aug. 24, 2021 at 9:01 p.m.

The North Idaho College Board of Trustees has scheduled a special meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss a series of topics including the college’s recently announced mask mandate and the contract of the college president.

The mandate, announced Thursday by NIC President Rick MacLennan, requires students, staff and visitors to wear double-layer face coverings at all times while inside college buildings when two or more people are present.

The measure took effect Monday, the first day of classes for NIC’s fall semester. MacLennan said the changing landscape caused by the delta variant of the coronavirus was the main factor behind the directive.

“While not the least bit desirable, we know, based on information from state and local health experts, that wearing face coverings improves our chances of being able to stay open this fall,” MacLennan said in his letter to the campus community. “This is one change we are making in order to continue offering students and community members the highest possible access to our programs and services. We remain committed to keeping those learning experiences as normal as possible for our students.”

The special meeting, scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, was officially announced by the college Tuesday afternoon. Beyond the mask mandate, agenda items include discussion surrounding MacLennan’s contract. MacLennan has had a fractured relationship with board chair Todd Banducci, which boiled over this winter when Banducci faced complaints of aggressive, unprofessional and threatening behavior toward MacLennan.

A full agenda can be found online at the NIC board webpage.

NIC’s mask mandate was instituted amid a surge in coronavirus-related hospitalizations at Kootenai Health.

As of Tuesday morning, the Coeur d’Alene hospital reported 91 COVID-19 inpatients, with 34 of them requiring critical care. The hospital reported just 11 patients in the ICU around a month ago.

Kootenai Health moved earlier this month to postpone all elective procedures due to the rise in coronavirus-related cases.

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