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Modified Stage 3 will not place schools back in full remote learning

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Modified Stage 3 won't put schools back in remote learning
Posted at 11:07 AM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 13:11:25-04

BOISE — Another twist for school districts.

At Monday's press conference, Governor Little said that schools would not go to full remote learning with the new modified Stage 3 guidelines. Little also said there'd been a substantial effort and millions of dollars put toward schools' safe operation.

President of Idaho Education Association Layne McInelly released a statement saying in part:

We appreciate Gov. Little recognizing the hard work of Idaho educators. However, the lack of accountability related to testing, tracing, and transparency remains a major concern in our schools. Without it, and with physical space limited by classroom sizes in our state that rank sixth highest in the country, we have little confidence that the move to stage 3 will keep students and educators safe in many areas of the state.

School operations also made the agenda at a conference of medical professionals Tuesday.

"There is data right now that doesn't clearly tell us whether or not schools are necessarily spreading it. I think what the data says is schools certainly reflect the community," said David Peterman, Primary Health Medical Group CEO.

However, COVID-19 has made its way to the classroom.

Three classes of Kuna's Hubbard Elementary students are currently in quarantine after being exposed to staff members with COVID.

"We need to look at how we can educate the youth of Idaho safely with this pandemic because it's going to take a concerted effort on all of our communities to follow the guidelines health professionals have put out," said McInelly,

"If we want to get back to full-time face-to-face learning we need to take the advice of health professionals."

McInelly also says in his statement:
The degree to which they have resources such as physical space, PPE, and testing should determine the degree of remote learning – not political pressure.

"I think the biggest thing that we need to know, no matter what stage we're in, is that educators, substitutes, classified parent-professional, or general ed teacher, is that they want to be in the classroom with those students, but we know that needs to be done safely," said McInelly.

Read IEA's full statement:

We appreciate Gov. Little recognizing the hard work of Idaho educators. However, the lack of accountability related to testing, tracing and transparency remains a major concern in our schools. Without it, and with physical space limited by classroom sizes in our state that rank sixth highest in the country, we have little confidence that the move to Stage 3 will keep students and educators safe in many areas of the state.

We are in a crisis. Local districts and communities have all the responsibility to follow the advice of medical professionals and safety protocols. The degree to which they have resources such as physical space, PPE, and testing should determine the degree of remote learning – not political pressure. We hope true partnerships between educators and administrators eclipses politics and develops one set of rules for how schools can operate safely. We look forward to cementing those rules together with our communities and parents.

Layne McInelly
President, Idaho Education Association