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Boise School District to stick with their reopening plan

Posted at 1:19 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 15:19:50-04

BOISE, Idaho — Boise School District responded to new guidance released from Central District Health (CDH) for school districts’ operations while in Category 3 (red). CDH announced earlier Friday that if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, schools in Ada County would move to category three next week.

Related: Central District Health issues guidance for Ada County schools ahead of shift to red category

Under the new guidelines and with approval of CDH and Boise School Districts medical advisors, the district will continue with phase one and two of their reopening plan, according to a news release. The start of phase three will be based on the ability to maintain safety protocols, the number of positive cases and students/teachers being quarantined has not affected operations and with CDH and medical professional's support.

The biggest change the district is making is the removal of phase four from the reopening plan. According to the release, the district will not return to five day a week in-person learning during the fall semester.

PHASED RETURN TO IN-PERSON SCHOOL PLAN FAQ REVISED 10/9/2020

What will happen if CDH moves Ada County to Category 2 and then determines Ada County is back to Category 3 after a period of time?

We will consult with CDH and medical professionals to determine if all students need to return to virtual learning only or if other measures can be put in place to continue in-person learning (see information above regarding new guidance from CDH for school operations in Category 3). In addition, some classes, grade levels and/or schools may have to move to virtual learning depending on positive cases and exposures. Following our safety protocols will be paramount to keeping incidents of exposure to a minimum.

How will movement between phases be determined?

Careful deliberation and consideration will take place before moving to the next phase. Progression through phases will be dependent upon:

  • Guidance from Central District Health (CDH)
  • Guidance from medical professionals
  • Ability for schools to adhere to safety protocols
  • Impact on school operations due to positive COVID-19 cases and staff and students in quarantine.

How does this plan affect athletics?

At this time practices and competitions will continue. Coaches and players are following safety protocols which has allowed us to continue with practices and competitions. If there is a positive case in our athletic program, we work with CDH and follow their guidelines.

Why not bring junior high and high school students back earlier?

The success of the overall plan depends on the ability to slowly integrate students while we ensure our safety protocols are being followed. Given that secondary students participate in classes with multiple grade levels, grades 7-9 and 10-12 will need to be brought back in the same phase.

Why does a phased reopening only involve half the students in each class attending each day?

By bringing in half of the students and teaching health and safety protocols, routines and procedures will be much more effective. The smaller class numbers will allow for adequate physical distancing spacing in the classroom and overall lower numbers of students building-wide. In addition, smaller class sizes will allow for targeted instruction.

Why implement virtual Mondays?

CDH provides updates to district leadership on Mondays, which will guide decision making about moving forward each week. Having three full days to identify, contact trace and quarantine students and staff after being together in the building for four days will be beneficial in stopping the spread. Custodial staff will also have more time to prepare for student return. Furthermore, teachers will be with their entire class (virtually) on Mondays and will have the ability to set expectations for the week, reinforce protocols prior to students coming to the building, and prepare all students for the week's instruction. Students will also have their 1:1 device with them in case there is a need for an extended closure beyond Monday.

What should families expect on the day their students are not in school?

Teachers will continue to use Google Classroom (grade 3 - secondary) and SeeSaw (grades K-2) as the platforms for instruction whether the learning is occurring in-person or virtually. For elementary students the days between in-person learning will be more independent practice, some guided lessons, and work from the teacher. Secondary students will continue with synchronous lessons through Google Classroom with their teachers during Virtual Mondays and their non in-person days.

How will it be determined what days students will attend?

Families will be contacted by their schools about their student’s schedule. It is the intent of the District to split the students by alphabet (for example A-L and M-Z). However, this may need to be adjusted to account for class size, combo classrooms, or to keep families together. Special consideration will be given for families with different last names.

PHASED RETURN TO IN-PERSON SCHOOL PLAN REVISED 10/9/2020

Phase 1 (Pre-K - 2nd Grade, Special Education; Alternating Daily Schedule)
Phase 1 will focus on students with the highest academic need, with a priority on early childhood education and special education. For example, PreK - 2nd grade students generally have little to no literacy skills making it very challenging for them to independently navigate online platforms, placing most of the burden on parents or caregivers. Also, young readers need intense targeted instruction that is difficult to accomplish in a virtual setting.

At a minimum, Phase 1 will last two weeks and is scheduled to begin September 21, 2020. Schedules will require half of the selected students to attend in-person two days a week and three days virtually:

Schedule:

  • Mondays: All Students Virtual
  • Tuesdays/Thursdays: Students will be divided in half alphabetically as close to 50% as possible per school while working to keep families together (Ex. Last Names A-L)
  • Wednesdays/Fridays: Students will be divided in half alphabetically as close to 50% as possible per school while working to keep families together (Ex. Last Names M-Z)

Student Demographics:

  • Pre-Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
  • Unless otherwise notified, Special Education and English Learners will follow the schedule of their general education classroom.
  • Students enrolled in classes involving specialized equipment will also continue to attend in small groups.

Phase 2 (Add Grades 3 - 6; Alternating Daily Schedule)
Phase 2 is scheduled to begin October 5, 2020. Students from grades 3 - 6 will be added to the Phase 1 daily schedule.

  • Movement to Phase 2 will be carefully determined based on the success of Phase 1:
  • Are safety protocols able to be maintained?
  • Number of positive Covid-19 cases and students/ teachers being quarantined has not hindered school operations
  • CDH and medical professionals’ input

Phase 3 (All Students Attend; Alternating Daily Schedule)
Phase 3 is scheduled to begin October 19, 2020. Junior High School and High School students will be added to the Phase 1/Phase 2 daily schedule.

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - Phase 4 (All Students Attend Every Day)
Phase 4 will only begin when it has been determined we can safely reintegrate all students into their traditional classroom.