BOISE, Idaho — The Boise School District (BSD) Board of Trustees met for a regular board meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8. During the meeting, Dr. Kenny Bramwell of St. Luke's, Dr. Mark Nassir of Saint Alphonsus, and Gina Pannell with Central District Health (CDH) offered recommendations for in-person learning to trustees.
Bramwell, Nassir and Pannell all gave updates on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for their respected hospitals and CDH. All shared the sentiment that the demand for the vaccine versus the supply continues to be the main challenge, though the desire is very encouraging.
Nassir and Bramwell also shared their hospitals' COVID-19 admission rates have been steadily declining since early January. Saint Alphonsus' total patients are made up of 5-10% COVID-19 patients, while St. Luke's has around 50 COVID-19 patients.
Last week, BSD formed an exploratory committee made up of teachers, parents, principals and school nurses from different areas of the district elementary and secondary schools. The committee is responsible for making recommendations to the board regarding when and how students should return to full-time in-person learning.
Factors under consideration include, but are not limited to:
- Ability to physically distance with all students back in-person
- Timeline when the majority of staff will be fully vaccinated, including our most vulnerable population age 65 and older who can be severely impacted by COVID-19
- Warmer weather conditions that will allow for more fresh air being brought into the buildings
- Ability to use outside space to help with physical distancing
- Advice from medical professionals and Central District Health
- The trend of COVID-19 cases in our community
- Adequate turnaround time to fully staff & support Food Service & Transportation operations prior to return to five-days-a-week in-person learning.
Bramwell, Nassir and Pannell all agreed that these criteria must be met before students can return to the classroom full-time.
Ultimately, the board moved to bring students in grades Pre-k through second and special education students back for full-time in-person learning on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The motion failed.
The board will schedule special meetings to receive timely updates on returning to full-time in-person if needed.
On Monday, BSD parents and staff received a survey that will help the district gauge interest and support for returning to in-person learning five days a week. The board may use this survey to determine when students return to in-person learning during future meetings.