This article was originally published Kevin Richert in Idaho Ed News.
Thirteen school nurses are urging the Boise School District to shift back to online learning next week in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“Ada County as well as the entire state of Idaho is experiencing a public health crisis,” the nurses said in a letter sent to trustees Tuesday. “Our belief as Boise School District nurses is that by schools remaining in-person, we are adding to this crisis rather than helping it.”
Their appeal comes as case numbers continue to skyrocket in Ada County and in Boise schools.
Ada County has reported nearly 2,100 new cases in the past week, nearly a 12 percent increase.
Since Nov. 3, the Boise district has counted 123 confirmed or probable cases, compared to 84 cases in the previous two-week period from Oct. 20 to Nov. 2.
Trustees met Monday night to discuss the district’s hybrid learning schedule, which allows students to attend school two days a week. Doctors from two Boise hospitals said they still support Boise’s hybrid approach — but during Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Coby Dennis acknowledged that the virus is spreading from some known school cases.
In their letter, the nurses said they don’t feel that their voices are being heard, since school nurses had no representative speaking on their behalf Monday night.
”We feel that it is our ethical duty to let you know that we are very concerned about what we are seeing in the schools,” they wrote.
On Wednesday, trustee Nancy Gregory said the board is considering how to proceed. The board will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“We are listening carefully to our staff and parents as we monitor the effects of COVID in our schools,” Gregory said. “Our nurses are carrying an ever-increasing burden in contact tracing in our buildings.”