BOISE, Idaho — The start of the 20-21 school year is still two months away for most Idaho students, but Idaho's largest district has already come up with a complete pandemic plan, adjustable for every possible outcome.
Central District Health has already approved three scenarios when West Ada students return in late August.
Let's say everything is somewhat back to normal, meaning there's minimal or moderate community spread, West Ada schools will reopen under the "normal school operations" scenario.
That means students back in classrooms, but with some adjustments.
Like extra hand sanitizer and cleaning schedules, rearranging desks to help with physical distancing and not sharing materials and spaces if possible.
Students will still get laptops and those will become a regular part of the learning process.
Lunch times will be staggered and busses will run.
If there is moderate community spread or there are positive cases with some risk of exposure, the district would shift to a yellow phase or an "alternate day schedule."
Basically, a way to avoid a complete school closure with half the students in class one day, the other half the next, and alternate from there.
Families will be kept on the same schedule. So, for instance, if you have a kid at Heritage Middle School and a kid at Rocky Mountain High School, they will all go to school the same days.
Those days they are home would be remote learning days, so it's still an everyday school thing.
And finally, if this all goes south and there is substantial community spread, a new slew of positive cases or if there is a statewide order to close all schools. Well, that's what they will do.
In the red phase, the school buildings will close again but learning will continue remotely for all grade levels.
To do that, the district will provide devices and internet to every student.
Assessments and grading will continue until schools can reopen.
An additional option of going completely virtual is also available for families who choose not to send their students to school.
As for after-school or extracurricular activities, that hasn't been decided yet.
They are planning for them, but the West Ada School District says they will be working closely with the Idaho High School Activities Association to figure out the fall.
At this point, West Ada says they're still planning to open traditional classrooms on August 27.
A final decision will be made by August 20.
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