Post Falls School District to return to hybrid learning, school board elevates risk level to orange

Post Falls High School

POST FALLS, Idaho – The Post Falls School District will move back to the hybrid learning schedule for all students. On Friday, the school board voted to move the high schools to the hybrid schedule starting Monday and the elementary and middle schools starting Wednesday. In the hybrid schedule, students are all learning remotely on Wednesday.

The district brought all its students back for full-time instruction on October 5th.

In the board meeting, Superintendent Dena Naccarato said 170 students were in quarantine this week because they either were in close contact with COVID-19 or tested positive for the virus.

On Thursday, the Panhandle Health District moved both Kootenai and Boundary Counties to the red, substantial risk category. Although the health district moved to red, the Idaho State Board of Education changed its recommendations, previously telling districts to move to full-time remote learning if counties move to the red category. However, now, the State Board of Education says it’ll be up to individual districts to choose for their students.

“This will enable schools to look at their individual schools and consider implementing plans to keep kids in some form of modified face-to-face learning with safety measures in place,” said Lora Whalen, the district director for Panhandle Health District.

RELATED: Panhandle Health District board lifts Kootenai Co. mask mandate despite drastic rise in COVID-19 cases

On Thursday, the Panhandle Health Board lifted the mask mandate, but is still recommending people to wear masks in certain places. Following that, the school board for the school district says it will make masks “strongly recommended,” but not required. If the health district were to mandate it, then they would follow suit.

“We are not the mask police, but we can continue to educate.” Naccarato said. She told the board it is important to have masks in schools for the safety of students and staff, but the board decided to make it only a recommendation.

RELATED: Kootenai, Boundary Counties moved to ‘red’ risk category as COVID cases rise