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North Star Charter closes elementary following COVID-19 surge

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Posted at 11:41 AM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 13:41:56-04

EAGLE, Idaho — This article was written by Sami Edge of Idaho Education News.

All elementary students in Eagle’s North Star Charter will learn from home until at least Oct. 5 following a surge in COVID-19 cases and quarantines of students and staff.

In an email to parents on Monday, board chairwoman Jenna Balch wrote that at least 12 staff members and 12 students have confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19. An additional 14 staff members and 73 students are quarantined due to potential exposure, Balch wrote.

“The confirmed and probables have been increasing at a rapid pace,” Balch wrote. The school received its first positive case of COVID-19 on Wednesday of last week.

In a board meeting on Monday night North Star trustees voted to move the elementary school to remote learning only for 14 days, due to a shortage of staff members. More than 40 percent of the elementary staff is quarantined, Balch wrote.

North Star charter has about 1,000 students and had been operating in a hybrid-learning model. Elementary students attended school in either a morning or afternoon session. Secondary students attend school every-other-day.

The secondary school will continue to operate in a hybrid model while elementary students stay home.

The board on Monday night also modified policy to require teachers and staff wear a mask “whenever possible,” Balch wrote, and decided that face-shields are not acceptable face coverings for staff except in short term occasions or for medical reasons.

North Star administrators did not immediately return messages seeking comment.