Central District Health Revises Social Media Policy, Will Not Repost Elected Officials

At the HRC’s regular board meeting, the board voted to change its social media policy to remain politically neutral.

BOISE, Idaho – At the regular Central District Health board meeting on Friday morning, board members voted to implement a social media policy that prohibits CDH social media accounts from reposting the content of elected officials’ accounts.

The policy was supported by board members in its initial version, but small wording adjustments were suggested and implemented.

“The Central District Health (CDH) board of health prefers to avoid the perception that the agency is providing support to any elected official in their professional capacity by reposting their public health content. The approved social media policy reads as follows. “As such, CDH will refrain from reposting any elected official’s social media content.”

The Board of Directors of the CDH also revised its advisory policy on COVID-19. This policy originally said, “It is the policy of the Central District Health board of health that public health advisories issued by the agency should be based on scientific data.”

This COVID-19 advisory policy now reads as follows:

  • District manager: When the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases guidelines to reduce the threat of COVID-19 in our communities, CDH subject matter experts will examine the science and data on which the guidelines were based and determine whether or not adopt the guidelines as public health advice.
    If, in the professional opinion of subject matter experts, CDC guidelines and local circumstances warrant issuing a public health advisory, the CDH will issue the advisory in the affected area of ​​the health district. Opinions will be shared with the Board of Health at the same time they are issued to the community.
  • Health advice: The Board of Health will have the option of calling a special meeting in accordance with the Board’s by-laws to discuss the notice and determine whether to leave the notice in place as written, modify the notice or withdraw it.
  • District Director: If the board of health determines that it wishes to modify or withdraw the notice, the agency will take the necessary steps to immediately follow the directions of the board.

Physician board member Dr Ryan Cole and board member Raul Labrador both expressed concern about the original policy, which sparked this change.

Board principal Russ Duke recently spoke at a West Ada School District Board meeting on behalf of CDH, advising the school district to follow CDC guidelines.

“The CDC’s recommendation is for K-12 masks based on the delta variant. I would expect this to change for future variants based again on their transmissibility and severity. But for now, that would be my recommendation for you, ”said Duke.

Raul Labrador challenged these CDC guidelines, citing that he disagreed with having a say in how the CDH advises local agencies.

“If you want to repost what the CDC has done, that’s one thing. But when you go beyond that and actually defend a CDC position, I think it needs to be voted on by the board,” Labrador said.

“They ask me for my opinion,” said Duke. “West Ada invited me, I didn’t invite myself. They asked for my opinion, they asked for my recommendation. And I think it’s our responsibility to provide it.”

Dr Cole agreed with Labrador and wanted to have a say in what data the CDH uses to make recommendations to the public.

“I don’t want to micromanage Russ,” Dr. Cole said. “I appreciate what he’s doing. I just want to make sure that what we at least have the opportunity to discuss is based on the data the decision is made on.”

In accordance with the updated policy, the Board of Directors may call an emergency meeting in accordance with the rules of the CDH and revise or withdraw opinions issued on behalf of the CHD.

Dr Cole notably abstained from voting when the updated policy was approved. Raul Labrador voted to approve the policy.

At KTVB, we focus our media coverage on the facts, not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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