BOISE, Idaho — The Boise School District released the first draft of a phased re-opening plan to start to allow some students to return to in-person school. The plan will allow some students to return within two weeks of a Central District Health (CDH) decision to move Ada County to category two (yellow).
The plan would not go into effect before September 21, with the goal to resume five day a week in-person learning by November 9. Parents can expect detailed information for their child's school the week of September 7.
- Phase 1: PreK - 2nd Grade, Special Education, Alternating Schedule (3 virtual, 2 in-person)
- Phase 2: PreK - 6th Grade, Alternating Schedule (3 virtual, 2 in-person)
- Phase 3: PreK - 12th Grade, Alternating Schedule (3 virtual, 2 in-person)
- Phase 4: All Students in-person five days a week
According to CDH's Back-To-School Framework, schools in the yellow category can open with the option of limited and/or staggered use of school buildings with physical distancing and sanitation in place. Any return to in-person learning will follow Boise School District’s Pandemic Operation Plans.
The staggered approach to in-person learning will focus first on students with the highest academic needs while limiting daily in-person attendance and gradually build toward all students returning to their traditional classrooms, according to a news release from the district.
Students enrolled in the District’s Boise Online School will not be affected. More information regarding athletics, transportation, meal service, as well as Boise School District’s child care provider, Just for Kids, will be available the week of September 7.
Movement from one Phase to the next will be based on several factors, including:
- Guidance from Central District Health
- Guidance from Medical Professionals
- Ability for Schools to Adhere to Safety Protocols
- Impact of Quarantine Due to Positive COVID-19 Cases on Staff and Students
District administrators will continue to consult with representatives of the Boise Education Association, as well as local healthcare and medical providers throughout the week to collect input on the draft plan. Parents, patrons and students are encouraged to send comments via the district's online public comment form or through the District’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
You can read the full draft plan of staggered reopening from the District below.
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 begin no sooner than September 21, 2020. Schedules will require half of the selected students to attend in-person two days a week and three days virtually:
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)
Pre-Kindergarten - 2nd GradeSmall groups of special education, English Learners and other students needing significant intervention or as determined by IEP teams.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 will begin no sooner than four weeks after the date when Central District Health determines Ada County is no longer in Category 3 - Substantial Community Spread. Students from grades 3 - 6 will be added to the Phase 1 daily schedule.
Phase 2 will begin no sooner than October 5, 2020.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 operationsCDH and Medical professionals’ input
Phase 3 (All Students Attend; Alternating Daily Schedule)
Phase 3 will begin no sooner than six weeks after the date when Central District Health determines Ada County is no longer in Category 3 - Substantial Community Transmission [r20.rs6.net]. Junior High School and High School students will be added to the Phase 1/Phase 2 daily schedule.
Phase 3 will begin no sooner than October 19, 2020
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. Phase 4 will begin no sooner than November 9th, 2020.
DRAFT PLAN FAQ
How does this plan affect athletics?
Once CDH determines Ada County is in Category 2, practices and competitions will start. This will be another step in phasing students back into our schools. While we start with PreK-2 students and athletic practices we can closely monitor and adjust our safety protocols at all levels.
How will movement between phases be determined?
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, and
- Impact on school operations due to positive Covid-19 cases and staff and students in quarantine.
Why does the plan prioritize bringing Pre-K-2 back in-person first?
Pre-K-2 students generally have little to no literacy skills, making it very challenging for them to independently navigate online platforms. Online instruction puts most of the burden on parents. Young readers need intense targeted instruction that is difficult to accomplish in a virtual setting.
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, the smaller class sizes will allow for more 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.
Why wait to bring back grades 3-12?
This will allow time for adjustments in protocols and to determine what needs to change within a building to implement the pandemic operation plans while addressing the needs of our most vulnerable population.
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.
How will it be determined what days students will attend?
Families will be contacted by their schools about attendance days. 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.
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. 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.