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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Coeur d’Alene schools grapple with one-day mask ban from Lt. Gov. McGeachin as COVID-19 cases soar

UPDATED: Sun., May 30, 2021

A student at Lake City High School wears a mask during class at the school in Coeur d’Alene last month.   (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
A student at Lake City High School wears a mask during class at the school in Coeur d’Alene last month.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

Life will be back to normal Monday at Lake City High School – that is, masks will be required following a one-day hiatus on Friday.

Not that students didn’t wear them; compliance was strong in spite of a sudden new rule banning masks. But the school was technically beholden to an executive order issued Thursday by Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who in Gov. Brad Little’s absence ordered a prohibition of all mask mandates. McGeachin is running for governor against Little, who overturned her mask rule Friday and called her move a political stunt.

That prohibition extended to Lake City, where at least 23 students have tested positive for COVID-19 since after at least two students attended without masks while knowing they were infected.

As a result, Principal Deanna Clifford ordered all students there to wear masks through the end of the school year on June 11.

The district issued a statement Friday morning conceding to McGeachin’s order.

“Masks are still strongly recommended, especially in light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases among students at Lake City,” the district said. “We also encourage our seniors, who are preparing for graduation, to be particularly cautious at this time, as exposures without masks can result in quarantine.”

However, later on Friday, the district acknowledged Little’s reinstatement “of the ability of school districts to enforce mask requirements in schools.”

“In light of this, we will continue with our current COVID-19 mitigation measures, including the mask requirement for students, staff and visitors at Lake City High School, beginning Tuesday, June 1.”

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