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West Ada School District prepares for a possible move to red category

A spokesperson for the district said they're currently gathering survey results from parents and will work with CDH on a plan if Ada County is downgraded.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — As coronavirus cases continue to soar in the Gem State, so do Ada county’s chances of moving into the red category next week. West Ada School District sent out a survey to parents Thursday night asking how they feel about in-person learning if Central District Health were to move the county into the red category or stay in yellow.

Central District Health will make its recommendations to the school board on Monday at 2 p.m. The survey will be open until the middle of next week. 

Char Jackson, a spokesperson for the West Ada School District, said they will then evaluate parents' responses from the survey with Central District Health to come up with a plan to operate in category red.

“There’s no plan at this time but there’s been discussion and we’ve received a lot of feedback from people wanting their kids to still be in school even if Central District Health has us in red,” she said.  “We’ve been having that conversation for some time so now we need to gage, where do we have parents support for this, where do we have staff support for this? To be in an alternating schedule if the Central District Health pushes us in red."

The decision isn’t easy for all parents. Christina Mennear is a mom of two going to schools in the West Ada School District. Her children are currently enrolled in hybrid learning. After receiving the district’s survey, she said she has a lot to consider.

“I'm not comfortable with it in red, I’m not comfortable with the change in yellow that they've made right now, but you know I have different reasons. I have a child with an immune deficiency, that already leaves him susceptible to respiratory infections," Mennear said. "So I can admit that I tend to air on the side of caution."

In the first week of West Ada’s reopening plan, schools were in the yellow category phasing in preschool and kindergarteners. The second week, they phased in first and seconds grades. On Monday, the district plans to phase in third grade, but that could all change if Central District Health decides that West Ada School District will need to move back to red.

“We would need Central District Health's backing in this so for example, if we did go to alternating days and Central District Health put us in red, we would need to have the conversation with them about what different protocols they would like to see in place,” Jackson said. 

“Yes, we want our students to be here face to face learning with our teachers,” she said. “We know that’s the best way they learn, but we also know we are in the middle of a pandemic, so can we bring them back to an alternate day schedule even if we are in red level, safely? And if we can’t do that, then we can’t do that."

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