Gov. Little holds press conference on Stage 4 and reopening schools safely

Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 10:56:45-04

IDAHO — Governor Brad Little held a press conference today to discuss Stage 4 of Idaho’s Rebound Plan and the reopening of schools across the state.

According to Little, Idaho will remain in Stage 4 for another two weeks.

He says there is a sufficient number of medical supplies and staff across the state, which means Idaho meets the demands.

“We are in a much different place now than we were in March. Our economy is open. Our parents have returned to their places of work. We have increased our capacity for testing, contact tracing, PPE, and other healthcare capacities,” Little says.

Little also mentions that Idaho is seeing a downward trend in overall case counts and percent-positivity rates. Emergency room visits of people with COVID-19 symptoms are also on the decline, according to the governor.

“Even in some of the hotspots, we are starting to see the benefit of measures that local health officials and mayors have implemented to reduce the rate of spread and preserve hospital capacity,” Little says.

When it comes to children going back to school, Idaho is directing about $85 million to ensure a safe reopening of schools across the state.

Here is the breakdown:

  • $10 million for masks, gloves, sanitizer, and plexiglass for schools
  • $48 million for computers, connectivity, and other remote learning resources to bridge the “digital divide.”
  • $21 million for COVID-19 testing for school staff and teachers
  • $3 million to increase testing turnaround time and capacity
  • $3 million for pharmacies in rural areas to help improve quick testing results

“The unprecedented amount of money we are pumping into our schools for safety should provide teachers and parents with the confidence to return to the classroom for in-person instruction,” Little says.

The Idaho State Board of Education says schools will look different depending on where you live in the state, but each district is making public health and safety is their top priority.

“We have the same priority. We are getting students connected with their teachers in the most practical and safe way possible. There is an expectation that that learning will take place, and the expectation includes a higher level of support for students and for staff than what we saw in the spring,” Idaho State Board of Education President, Debbie Critchfield says.

Head to our Facebook page, Idaho News 6, to watch the full press conference.