Coeur d’Alene school board elevates risk level to moderate

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The Coeur d’Alene School District Board of Trustees voted Monday to move all schools from the minimal to moderate category, due to a spike in COVID-19 transmission among students and staff.

The decision comes the same day high school students in the district returned to a hybrid learning model.

Superintendent Steven Cook made the “administrative decision” on Friday, just two-weeks after those students moved to full-time, in-person learning. The decision was made following an uptick in COVID-19 cases and exposures at the school, and just a day after the Panhandle Health District moved Kootenai County to the “moderate” risk category.

READ: Coeur d’Alene students return to hybrid learning amid COVID-19 spike

Kootenai County’s case rate remains high. For some perspective, Spokane County, which has about 520,000 people, had 109 new cases this past Friday. The Panhandle Health District, which includes far fewer people than Spokane County, had 108 new cases.

The board also unanimously approved a recommendation to modify the schools’ reopening plans. Starting October 26, all students in grades K-8 will learn in-person four days a week and online one day.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Cook said he hopes the change will create some normalcy.

“The recommendation that we would like to give, we think, would add to stability at both the schools and predictability, which right now, the general theme we are getting both from families and from staff is that the transitions are tremendously burdensome,” Dr. Cook said.

In late September, the board had previously voted to phase students back into classrooms and move into the minimal risk category.

These changes mean that elementary and middle school students will return to hybrid learning, starting October 26. This time, they will be in the classroom Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They’ll learn virtually on Wednesdays.

High school students are back in the hybrid model effective immediately.


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READ: Coeur d’Alene high schools to return to hybrid learning starting Monday