ADA COUNTY, Idaho — Tuesday was supposed to be the final day of classes for the West Ada School District.
Instead of students and staff celebrating the end of the year together, they are on their own at home.
Families are already asking, what will school look like when classes resume in the fall?
A few weeks back we told you about a survey the West Ada district sent out. The goal was to figure out what families wanted to see.
West Ada District spokesman Eric Exline says the results are now in.
“We know that there are a lot of differences in terms of what families expect, and what they need,” Exline said.
A big question from the district to parents was, if schools are allowed to open in the fall, will families send their kids?
Nearly three-quarters - 73.5% - of parents responded yes, while about 25% said they are uncertain.
“There is a wide spectrum of how people are viewing this pandemic and what they think we should do to respond to it and we need to try and craft it so that can meet desires and make schools as safe as they can be next fall,” Exline said.
Safety and sanitation will be a key this fall; The district asked about what measures parents would like to see to ensure that.
“So at the top of the list was easy access to the ability to clean or wash hands," Exline said. "Lots of hand sanitizer, reminders for kids to wash their hands and that’s a pretty easy one."
Immediate seclusion of students showing signs of COVID-19 and no large gatherings, such as assemblies, were also popular responses.
District leaders know that even with all of those measures, some families will be uncomfortable with sending their students in. The district says in those cases they will work on an individual basis
“Identifying those things that we need to be able to provide and do for families so that their kids can get an education,” Exline said.
Final decisions will be made based on what the situation looks like closer to the start of the school year. Exline explained the three categories they will make decisions under.
“Green that means there is really no community spread, school is normal," he said. "Yellow, the world looks about what it does now, there is mild to moderate spread, requirements for social distancing, which is a challenge in a school as you can imagine. Red, would be there is significant spreads, schools are in a soft closure and we would have to deliver all the learning online."
If schools return with rules that include limited group sizes and required social distancing, 68% of parents responded saying they would prefer a blended system of learning, with some in-person classes and some online.
“We will have to make that decision within a week or two of the start of school,” Exline said.
While other decisions like that will have to wait, the district does know one policy that will be in place.
“If you’re sick, for whatever reason, you need to stay home,” Exline said.
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