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West Ada approves plan to bring grades 6-12 back for full-time in-person learning in March

West Ada's grade 6-12 students could return to the classroom four days a week as early as March 29 under the approved reopening plan.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — During the Tuesday night board meeting, the West Ada School District Board of Trustees approved a plan to bring students in grades 6-12 back for full-time, in-person learning as early as March 29, 2021.

The West Ada superintendent will inform the board if the start date needs to be further amended during the next regular meeting on Feb. 23.

Under the original plan, high school students were set to return to full-time, in-person learning on April 9 and middle school students were set to return on April 13. The amended plan will bring students back as early as March 29.

Students will be in the classroom Tuesday-Friday and Monday will remain remote for all students. Conducting classes remotely on Mondays will be most beneficial for teachers and faculty who will need time to plan lessons accordingly for students in the Virtual School House and those in quarantine, according to the board.

West Ada recently created an exploratory committee tasked with determining if and when students in middle and high school can return to in-person learning four days a week. 

Students in grades K-5 currently attend in-person classes every day, while students in grades 6-12 meet in person 2 days a week on alternating days. 

The committee determined that students can safely return to in-person learning if the following criteria is met:

  1. All West Ada School District staff have been given the opportunity to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and the additional two weeks after the second dose to reach peak immune response (Student/Staff percent positive calculated by looking at each school’s student/staff positive case counts divided by total student/staff enrollment. Case Counts reflect positive cases that were infectious while in attendance at school or school-based activity)
  2. Student/Staff percent positive below 2% for two consecutive weeks.

West Ada faculty and staff became eligible to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 16, 2021. Primary Health indicated they could handle vaccinating all staff with the first dose within 4 weeks (by Feb. 13). This essentially starts the 28-Day “clock” between dose one and two on Saturday, Feb. 13. 

By March 13, all staff would have had the opportunity to receive both doses of the vaccine.

Mask usage will continue through the end of the school year but maintaining six feet of distance between students will not be enforced if students are back to full-time in-person learning.

The fourth-quarter return would allow the district to fill more than 40 vacant positions, ranging from transportation to nutrition staff. It would also allow the district to continue to monitor COVID-19 cases among students and faculty, as well as allow students time to transition to and from the Virtual School House.

Between Feb. 10-March 19, a new declaration will open for parents and students to request a transfer to the Virtual School House for the fourth quarter. Students will also have an opportunity to transfer out of the Virtual School House.

On Monday night, Boise School District trustees moved to bring students in grades Pre-K through 2nd back for full-time, in-person learning beginning Tuesday, Feb. 23. The motion failed.

To watch the full West Ada board meeting on the KTVB YouTube channel, click below: