Bemidji School Board will review mask policy when COVID cases decline, case rates remain high in September

The Bemidji School Board met for their regular meeting Monday night.

Superintendent Tim Lutz says that as of last Friday, Beltrami County’s COVID-19 case rate per 10,000 people was 68.55, a number that is considered a high rate of transmission.

Lutz said that once Beltrami County’s case rate gets to the moderate level, less than 29, they can begin discussions toward reviewing the masking policy.

School board member Jeff Haack expressed concern over some students needing 14 days of quarantine time when exposed or infected.

At school, if all students were wearing masks, only the COVID-infected students would need to isolate and quarantine, not the potentially exposed students. If students were exposed elsewhere, they need the full 14 days of quarantine.

Haack mentioned the burden such a policy can put on working parents for finding childcare for two weeks, and that the digital elements of learning last year are not in place this year. 

The school board also approved 10 polling sites and election judges for this year’s special election for a new operating referendum. The district is asking voters to allow the current $180 per pupil referendum to expire and replace it with a $460 per pupil referendum. That election will be held on Nov. 2.


Click here to view the full meeting of the Bemidji Area School Board on Sept. 20.

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