BOISE, Idaho — All schools in the Boise School District will return to in-person, five-day-a-week learning in the classroom in the fall, with the option for students to choose to enroll in a new online learning program instead if they do not wish to return to the traditional classroom setting, according to a plan released Thursday.
"Every student in our District deserves access to a great education, delivered by a highly-qualified Boise School District teacher, regardless of whether the teaching and learning occurs in a traditional classroom or online," said Board President Nancy Gregory. "Whether our schools are open, we have students who are unable to attend their traditional school, or we find ourselves in a COVID-19 closure similar to what we experienced this spring, we will be prepared to support, care for, and, most importantly, teach our students."
The district's back-to-school plan, which has been approved by the school board, came together after feedback from hundreds of parents teachers, staff members, and other members of the community.
Details about day-to-day operations, athletics, and other activities, as well as information about enrolling in the online-only learning program will be released soon, according to the school district.
"The plan we adopted today creates a framework for our principals to work with in customizing their own building plans. It also honors the choice of families and provides flexibility to respond to changing conditions in our community," Gregory said. "We appreciate the dedication of our administration and staff through this challenging time. We are all focused on how to best serve our students."
The 2020-2021 school year is set to begin Aug. 17. Registration for the online program, which will mirror the in-person curriculum "as much as possible," will open July 13 and run through July 31.
Per CDC guidelines, the school district is recommending the use of face masks or face shields for both staff and students. In addition, schools will be outfitted with hand santizer stations, sneeze guards, digital thermometers and disinfecting supplies. The district is also asking individual schools to enact physical distancing measures and reducing class sizes.
"We sincerely appreciate all the input received, including the results from our parent and staff surveys and public comments," Boise School District Superintendent Coby Dennis said. "Parents clearly told us that our priorities must include creating an online culture that reflects, to the best of our ability, the level of student engagement found in a traditional school environment, while providing the flexibility parents and students need to thrive online. This plan provides families a choice between in-person and on-line education so they can choose the best option for their student's needs."
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