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Four Idaho school districts announce Wednesday that they'll close for rest of week

Superintendents for schools in Dietrich, Fruitland, Garden Valley and Bruneau-Grand View all say the closures are due to student and staff illness.

IDAHO, USA — High rates of student and staff illness have at least four more Idaho school districts announcing that they're temporarily closing or switching to remote online learning.

Wednesday afternoon, the Fruitland School District superintendent announced that Fruitland schools will be closed Thursday, Jan. 20, and Friday, Jan. 21. A statement from Superintendent Lyle J. Bayley said this should give those who are ill time to recover, and will allow custodial staff to deep clean and disinfect all buildings and classrooms.

In the post on Facebook, Bayley also said attendance rates have been increasingly lower, and staff illness "has increased to the point that there are not enough personnel available to cover student classrooms."

There will be no remote learning either Thursday or Friday, Bayley said, but scheduled athletic events and activities will not be cancelled.

Regular in-person school will resume Monday, Jan. 24.

The Garden Valley School District announced Wednesday afternoon that all schools in the district - including Lowman Elementary - will be closed starting Thursday, Jan. 20, until Tuesday, Jan. 25.

A Garden Valley School District post signed by Superintendent Randy Thompson says almost 20% of students and more than 25% of the district's staff are absent, and there aren't enough substitutes to cover classes.

"Furthermore, many of our students, faculty and staff are sick and continuing to come to school," Thompson said. "We are taking this measure in an effort to give five full days off for those with illness to heal."

All school activities and practices scheduled for Thursday and Monday are cancelled, but activities and practices scheduled for Friday and Saturday will continue as planned.

"However, if you are sick, please do not attend," Thompson said, adding that a "full and thorough cleaning and sanitation" will be conducted  during the closure.

The Dietrich School District in Lincoln County posted a brief announcement late Wednesday afternoon: School will be cancelled Thursday due to "excessive illness with students and staff," and will reopen Monday. The announcement also advises, "please stay home if you are sick." Information about scheduled sporting events has been promised soon, also on the district's Facebook page.

The Bruneau-Grand View School District announced earlier Wednesday that all schools will be closed and moving to online learning Thursday, also due to illness. All scheduled games and practices are either cancelled or postponed until Monday, Jan. 24.

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