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'We definitely will listen': District surveys show what Idaho schools could look like for the upcoming year

Surveys sent out by the Boise and West Ada school districts ask parents what type of education plan they would like to see.

BOISE, Idaho — As the school year comes to an end across Idaho, parents and students want to know how school will look in the fall.

"I never thought I would hear my kids say, I wish I could go back to school but I've heard that a lot in the last few weeks," said Kristin Reese, parent of a middle schooler and second grader in the West Ada School District.

Reese, like a lot of other parents, wants to know what options are up for discussion.

"I do not envy the people that have to make these decisions right now, but I just think we need to be super fluid in these decisions we are making," Reese said.

School districts are still figuring it out.

To help the process though, both the West Ada and Boise school districts sent out surveys to gauge how families feel.

The surveys included questions like, if schools are open in the fall, are you comfortable sending your child?

What safety measures would you like to see?

"Really this is an opportunity for us to touch base with our parents and get more of an accurate picture of potentially what fall enrollment could look like for us," said Dan Hollar, spokesman for the Boise School District.

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Hollar says parent responses are crucial.

"Oh definitely, very much so," he said. "We don't ask for information unless we are willing to listen, and we definitely will listen."

The Boise and West Ada surveys give an idea of what the fall could possibly look like for students, teachers and parents.

Smaller class sizes, mandatory masks, maybe even temperature checks.

One idea includes hybrid learning with students having a mix of some online and some in-person classes.

"I think it's an idea, will it work? I don't know, but I don't think we will know until we try some things," Reese said.

The issue though is not all families are in the same boat. Reese hopes that schools give multiple options for learning.

"A family who has an immune-compromised person that needs to be taken care of, or a child that is prone to illness, I think my thought would be completely different," Reese said.

RELATED: What will school look like in the fall? Idaho education board president weighs in

Julie Lindquist has a son who will be a freshman at Eagle High School. She would love to have her son go back to a normal high school experience, but doing that would mean taking a risk for their family.

"I have lupus and I have asthma and I'm concerned," she said. "My son has asthma, so he is concerned that if he goes to school, he will bring it home to us. Our whole family would be at risk."

With that said though, Lindquist was happy to see the survey.

"I was glad they sent a survey because it's nice to know my input matters," she said.

After taking the survey, Lindquist wondered what kind of measure schools will take to protect students if they go back.

"Do they wear masks, do they have smaller classes, how do you do that with this many kids at Eagle High School," she said. "So it's a balancing act for us on doing what we need to do but not being overly fearful of everything."

Parents in the Boise and West Ada school districts are encouraged to fill out the surveys as soon as possible. If you didn't get one emailed to you, contact the district and they will send it to you.

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