Schools, health officials continue to discuss reopening plans

Posted at 3:16 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 11:14:22-04

BOISE — The Idaho State Board of Education helps answer questions still swirling about the start of school.

"Schools are clearly a different environment than a nightclub, for example, but that's kind of what I'm looking at, that long term," said Russell Duke, district director of Central District Health.

Health officials and school leaders met Wednesday virtually to discuss the missing pieces to their reopening plans.

"I would just say the Treasure Valley has the most complex set of issues," said board secretary Kurt Liebich.

The Boise School District discussed the three different plans for how its school year will look. Parents have until August 7 to decide which they feel most comfortable enrolling their child.

"We have about 32-3300 families right now that have signed up for our online school, said Coby Dennis, superintendent of the district. "That's like us trying to staff Boise High School, North Junior High, and Riverside Elementary School all at one time. Being able to physically get the logistics done, we need ten days to at least be able to get that done."

Plans for inside the classroom aren't the only thing complicating the district's decisions.

"I will tell you that probably the biggest challenge that we are facing right now is one of daycare and child care," said Dennis.

Mayor McLean weighed in on the need for partnerships, but no one could comment on providing CARES funds to support more programs. Another big topic addressed was mandatory masking.

"I just want to reiterate we are in 100% support [...] mandatory masking must happen," said Dr. Ted Epperly.

"For schools, that's not only K-12, but it's all universities all colleges all technical schools at least as it applies to Ada County."

The districts say they plan to continue adhering to CDH recommendations.

Russell Duke said on the call that on Monday, they would publicize the determination on what category the community is currently in so schools can factor that into their plans.