GFPS board considering revisions to board policy for masks

During the Nov. 8 school board, the board will consider revisions to Policy 1905, which addresses COVID health protocols such as masks.

The board adopted the 1900 series during the pandemic as emergency policies and updated 1905 regarding masks going into this school year.

That policy incorporated metrics regarding to case rates and positivity rates for local COVID cases.

GFPS requiring masks for all students, staff due to high COVID rates

“We’re finding we can’t administrer the policy the way its written,” GFPS Superintendent Tom Moore told The Electric.

The school board’s policy subcommittee, which includes some administrators and two school board members, met last week and have proposed an amended version of the policy “that we can administer.”

The proposed revision, reads as:

Moore said that the board is considering the proposed revision on first reading tonight, but since the 1900 series policies are considered emergency policies, the board can take action tonight if they choose and don’t need to do a second reading of the policy as would normally be the case.

Moore said he anticipates that the board will take action during their Nov. 8 meeting.

As of Nov. 5, there were 54 active COVID cases within the district.

GFPS requiring masks for all students, staff due to high COVID rates

Currently, the district is exempt from the federal vaccine mandate for companies with 100 employees or more, Moore said. He said district staff had looked into it and the Montana School Boards Association send out guidance indicating Montana is currently exempt from that mandate.

The mandate also doesn’t currently apply to local governments such as the City of Great Falls and Cascade County.

Jeff Hindoien, city attorney, told The Electric that the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard does not apply to state and local government workers in Montana, as Montana does not have a state OSHA plan.

He said his understanding is that the mandate applies to state and local governments in the 26 states and two territories that do have an approved state OSHA plan.