By Ben Olson
The Idaho State Board of Education directed on March 23 that all school districts in Idaho implement a “soft closure” through April 20 to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. This directive includes charter schools as well as public schools within Idaho school districts.
“During this soft closure period, local districts should follow national CDC guidelines pertaining to large gatherings and social distancing,” the Board wrote in a statement. “While students are not permitted in schools, the State Board expects efforts to continue facilitating essential services and student learning.”
The Board said it came to the decision to extend reopening schools after consulting with Gov. Brad Little, the Governor’s K-12 Emergency Council members and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on the ongoing extent of the coronavirus outbreak and the impact to Idaho school districts.
During the soft closure period, the Board asks school districts and charter schools to focus on developing and implementing a continuation of essential services to local communities. These plans include providing food service to Idaho’s underserved populations and childcare for community members that provide critical services. The Board recommends also implementing remote learning strategies to benefit all K-12 students in school districts and charter schools.
“These plans should be designed in the event that a community needs to maintain closures for an extended period or the remainder of the school year,” the Board wrote.
“Though the distant instruction is not of the same quality as face-to-face intstruction, I am very proud of all LPOSD employees for being dedicated, flexible and caring during these trying times,” LPOSD superintendent Tom Alberton told the Reader.
LPOSD schools will be on spring break March 30-April 3, so no distant learning will be delivered. Distant learning will continue starting April 6.
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