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West Ada School District to begin phased in-person learning on Monday

The school board's decision comes after Central District Health moved all Ada County schools to the yellow level for coronavirus community spread.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — West Ada students will begin returning to class, at least part-time, starting on Monday, September 14.

The board for the West Ada School District met Tuesday evening for a regularly planned board meeting that included a discussion on how the district plans to reopen schools for in-person learning.

Grades 1-12 will return to classrooms on Monday. In an effort to avoid having all students there at once, half of the students will start on Monday, while the other half will start on Tuesday. The two teams will then alternate back and forth.

"Busses will roll, kids will get on busses, we will get them into buildings and we will have an alternating day schedule," Assistant Superintendent Bret Heller said. "Students who are on Team 1 will be in the building on Monday, while students on Team 2 will learn from home and that just alternates each day."

RELATED: Central District Health moves Ada County schools to 'yellow' alert level

Moving forward, the district plans on phasing in the rest of the elementary students to a full-time schedule. Heller told the school board that the district is still working on the details of that plan, but that he expects one grade to come back at a time. 

That means preschool and kindergarten will start full-time on Sept. 14, then 1st grade will follow sometime after that. It still hasn't been decided how long of a gap there will be until other grades are phased into full-time in-person learning.

Heller also spent part of the meeting talking to the board about what would happen if a student misses an extended period of time due to a confirmed COVID-19 illness or having to quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive.

RELATED: Web filtering software triggers updates, preventing some West Ada students from signing in on first day of remote learning

The plan will change school by school, but he said if the student is well enough to do remote learning, that will be the plan.

"We are going to have to live a little bit in a world where a student is not in class, we give them opportunities to still connect and engage with what is happening," he said. "This idea of when you come back, I'll get you caught up isn't going to fly. We have to use the technology we have at our disposal if a student isn't able to be there."

If you missed the live stream, you can watch a recording of the meeting below.

On Tuesday afternoon, Central District Health, the public health district that oversees Ada County, announced that all schools in Ada, Gem, and Boise counties are now in the yellow category of community spread of COVID-19. The decision opens the doors for school districts to plan how they want to bring students back into classrooms.

"I've never been so happy to see yellow in my life," Heller said.

RELATED: Ada County schools await Central District Health's coronavirus category update

The change in spread levels means that students in Boise and West Ada schools, which elected to start the year entirely online, may be allowed back in the classroom. School officials for Boise and West Ada districts have said they would consider adding in-person options once the county was no longer deemed at the red level.

Facts not fear: More on coronavirus

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