Idaho State Board of Education aims to get students back into classrooms this fall

BOISE, Idaho. — The Idaho State Board of Education, with help from Governor Brad Little, has drafted up plans for reopening schools in the fall.

“The 2021 school year will not look the same as previous years. Our schools must be flexible in delivering different kinds of learning,” Little said during a press conference Thursday.

Little said the priority is to get students back in the classroom this fall.

The Board has developed a statewide plan that is intended to act as a framework for districts. Decisions on operations will be made locally, but the state guidance is there to help with those decisions.

State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra added that school will look for districts across the state.

“In all of my training to be a superintendent, this certainly was not in any manual or class I took,” Ybarra said.

The Board has been discussing splitting or rotating schedules, as well as a mix of online and in-person instruction. Little said $30 million has been allocated to address the digital divide among Idaho students.

Every district and charter school is responsible for providing a safe and healthy learning environment for their students. Districts are expected to work with their local health districts to develop plans that outline how they will respond to disease transmission within their community, enabling them to continue to provide instruction and educational services to their students.

Schools could have to limit or stagger the use of school buildings depending on the rate of community transmission.

In addition to decisions regarding in-person instruction, local districts will also be left to decide whether or not students will be required to wear masks.

A full breakdown of the state’s framework for decision-making can be found here.