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The Boulder Elementary School Board of Trustees approved a request Feb. 9 to allow the Jefferson County District and Justice courts, as well as the Boulder City Court, to use the gym for jury selection.

The request follows guidelines issued by Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath, stating that the process of jury selection requires that those called to duty must be provided an opportunity to adequately socially distance themselves due to the ongoing pandemic, according to Jefferson County District Court Clerk Dorianne Woods. 

Boulder Board of Trustees Chairman Eric Rykal said that school gyms are large enough to accommodate that request. 

The courts will hire a health screener, take the temperatures of potential jurors, hand out masks, if needed, as well as hand sanitizer, said Rykal. 

Woods said that the court typically calls about 100 individuals for the jury selection process, but with COVID-19 that might be reduced. The gym would only need to be used for a few hours, she said. 

The trials would then be held in the appropriate courtroom, said Woods. 

Woods said the school would typically be given a roughly two week notice of a pending jury trial. 

Boulder Elementary School Principal and Superintendent Maria Pace said the potential jurors could use the P.E. bathroom, as it is not being used at this time. There is also already a $30 cleaning fee built into the existing facility use agreement, she said, adding that potential jurors and court officials could use the east side doors. 

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