Teton School District board reviews school reopening draft plans

DRIGGS, Idaho — The Teton School District 401 Board of Trustees reviewed the first draft of three different possible reopening plans as the district navigates the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The local level of community transmission will be the determining factor in deciding which education level is safe for public school students.

The draft plan condenses and localizes the 45-page “Back to School Framework” released last Thursday by the Idaho State Department of Education.

The levels are color-coded for easier understanding. Basics of the three levels, and their corresponding transmission levels, as defined by Eastern Idaho Public Health, are:

  • Green, no or minimal community transmission: a traditional model, with
    modifications for social distancing and other health precautions;
  • Yellow, minimal or moderate community transmission: a hybrid model, which
    combines both in-person and remote learning — students would attend school in
    person two days a week, alternating days so fewer would be in the buildings at
    any given time. Teachers would monitor online efforts on other days;
  • Red, substantial community transmission: an all home-based learning model, if
    conditions worsen and warrant an extended closure of school.

Parents can also opt-in for an all-remote model, color-coded blue, which allows students to stay enrolled at TSD 401 and work with local teachers. This will be an expansion of the existing Teton Online School, an alternative previously offered only at Teton Middle School.

The three-page TSD draft plan is available for review online here.

“This is truly a draft,” Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme told the board. More details will be available in early August, he said.

Over the next month, administrators will research specific questions raised by trustees at Monday’s meeting. They will also seek to further address staff and parental concerns brought forward in district-wide surveys earlier this summer. Teachers will be involved, too, although nearly every TSD employee is currently off-contract for summer break.

An updated plan is expected to be provided to the TSD 401 trustees at its August 10 regular board meeting.

Woolstenhulme, school principals, department heads, and Teton Education Association president Angela Hoopes met Monday to create this first draft after reviewing plans from other school districts and the state’s Framework document.

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