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Kuna School District middle, high school students to remain in hybrid learning

The board approved a task force to oversee the plan to bring middle and high school students back for full-time in-person learning during Monday night's meeting.

KUNA, Idaho — During a Monday night meeting, the Kuna School District Board of Trustees approved a task force to oversee return plans for middle and high school students.

The board did not vote to allow middle and high school students to return to full-time in-person learning, so students will remain in a hybrid format for the time being.

On Friday, Feb. 19, the district transitioned to a remote learning day due to an excessive number of absences: 117 absences were reported throughout the district and only 20 substitutes were available to fill in, according to an email sent to KSD parents.

Several absences were staff who experienced short-term symptoms caused by the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Kuna Superintendent Wendy Johnson sent an email to district parents thanking them for their input on whether students should return to full-time in-person learning.

Many expressed disappointment at the decision to continue hybrid learning for the remainder of the year, sharing concerns about their child's academic progress and well-being.

“I know that middle school kids are suffering greatly," KSD parent Margo Patterson said. "I have heard so many stories from them that they are not understanding and failing classes. Many kids are home alone with parents working. These kids need structure and accountability."

Some parents, however, shared their relief that secondary schedules wouldn't change, stating their children are having success in the hybrid model.

“We’ve heard from parents on both sides of the issue, some who very much want their students back in the class every day, and then parents who were very comfortable and said the hybrid has been working well for their student and would like to see it continue during this time when the vaccine isn’t readily available," KSD Communications Director Allison Westfall said. “The superintendent is recommending that we have a task force of parents, students, and staff to look at the options available this year to address the needs expressed by parents and their concerns.”

The two largest school districts in Idaho, Boise and West Ada, approved phased reopening plans to bring students back for in-person learning full time this month.

In the Boise School District, students in grades K-6 will return for in-person learning on March 9. Middle and high schoolers will return on March 29.

West Ada School District approved a plan that will bring middle and high school students back for in-person learning four days a week beginning March 29.

The meeting will be streamed virtually to adhere to social distancing guidelines. For information on how to join the meeting, click here.

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