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Garden Valley School cancels all classes Thursday due to teacher shortage from COVID-19 exposure

The move comes just days after at least one person at the school had tested positive for COVID-19. At least 14 staff and 160 students are now in quarantine.

GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho — In an emergency board meeting on Wednesday night, the Garden Valley School Board voted to cancel classes for preschool through 12th grade on Thursday.

At least 14 teachers and staff are in quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure on campus. About 160 students are also in quarantine. The district said they have a major staffing issue and are unable to find enough substitute teachers to hold classes on Thursday. 

Classes were also canceled on Wednesday.

The move comes just days after the Garden Valley School District said in a letter to parents that at least one person at the school had tested positive for COVID-19. Officials said Sunday they were working to identify and get in touch with those who had been in close contact with the infected person but did not say if he or she was a teacher or a student.

Sports competitions and practices were also been canceled for Wednesday and Thursday, district officials said, and staff members and students will not be allowed inside the school building.

Board members expressed their concerns with canceling classes and athletics.

"To penalize these kids who are healthy is not a good thing, I still believe that being taught by a substitute teacher in class is better than being home on the computer for two hours doing what mostly seems like busywork," said board chairman Skye Davis. "If we are supposed to be quarantining these kids and we cancel school, all these kids are going to be getting together anyway but if we keep the school open and keep the kids who can be at school, at school and the kids we can at home, then we are more likely to actually help those kids quarantine."

Lowman Elementary School remains in session and transportation to that school will continue as normal. 

The district is now looking for additional substitute teachers. 

"There will be additional emails and announcements to communicate school information on Wednesday," the district wrote. "Stay healthy and strong Wolverines."

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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