TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Starting Monday, October 5, middle and high schoolers in the Twin Falls School District will be completely online for one day a week.
The school board decided to designate the four Mondays in October as all online days at their school board meeting this week. As Idaho News 6 has reported, the TFSD has been exploring options to help provide teachers with more time to plan and provide learning resources for the students who are out of school for extended periods of time due to COVID, COVID concerns, or quarantine.
"Currently, in the Yellow Protocol Schedule, secondary teachers are being asked to keep online classes up to date as well as provide robust instruction in their face-to-face classroom," the district said in a letter to parents. "Due to the number of students out of school on any given day, and the fact the yellow schedule has all students in class, teachers are struggling to provide consistent, high-quality instruction in both face-to-face and distance formats. The goal is for students to easily transition between face-to-face and digital."
In the district's survey to parents, both staff members and parents at the secondary level preferred an all online Monday.
According to the district, the staff members selected this option at 70 percent while parents were more closely split with 51 percent preferring all online as opposed to 49 percent preferring a ½ day in person on Monday.
"At the elementary level, the option of continuing the schedule as is was the parent preference with 48 percent indicating that option. Moving to a ½ day was highest ranking option among staff members with 38 percent of staff members selecting this option," the letter to parents read. "The second most popular options were also different between parents and staff members. Parents preferred a completely online day as the second most popular option while staff members indicated continuing the current schedule as their second most popular option."
Elementary schools will continue with early release on Monday. The district says at the elementary level, teachers are not consistently required to deliver their class between both digital and face-to-face; however, absenteeism requires teachers to provide more of their curriculum to be completed at home.
The school board plans to evaluate this change at its second board meeting in October.