Police at CDH

A Boise police vehicle sits outside the Central District Health building Tuesday afternoon in Boise.

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The Central District Health board during a meeting Tuesday clarified the Ada County mask order and worked through the factors in determining what a safe school year could look like during the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Idaho Press reporter Thomas Plank. The new mask order, which only includes Ada County, clarifies that face masks are required in universities, colleges and technical schools when a social distancing measure of 6-feet or more cannot be maintained; and an elementary school or secondary school facility unless a teacher is standing 10 feet away from the students or someone is working in a private office with the door closed. The mandate does not include childcare facilities, which will be discussed in future meetings after legal counsel vets the term further.

"We are in the middle of the substantial spread of a major pandemic that is filling up our hospitals," board member Dr. Ted Epperly said. "There is nothing in here that is a major regression, but it will clear up the confusion of what the public understands we are trying to do with masking."

Roughly 15 to 20 people protested the mask order at Central District Health's building during the meeting, despite the fact that the meeting was virtual and board members called in remotely; it also was streamed to the building's lobby. Health Freedom Idaho, a group that lobbies against vaccination requirements and protested the governor's stay-home order, organized the protest. Police arrived around 4:30 p.m., after a woman in the group called asking to be let in the meeting.

Boise Police Department spokeswoman Haley Williams confirmed the group wanted to witness the meeting in person. "The meeting is virtual and people are asking to see it in person," Williams wrote in a text message. "Everyone is being peaceful and cooperating." You can read Plank's full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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