Boise students to return to the classroom on Jan. 19

The Boise School District’s board of trustees agreed to return to classrooms in a hybrid learning model starting Jan. 19, and they also approved a plan to allow more fans at high school sporting events during a regular board meeting Monday night.

Trustees received an update from district leadership regarding a return to classroom learning. The district has been operating remotely since Nov. 30.

Part of that discussion included vaccinations. District Health Services Administrator Tamara Fredrickson said health services staff have received the first round of the vaccine, adding that teachers and students would be part of phase two of the vaccine rollout, which could happen as soon as February. Superintendent Coby Dennis said it’s important to remember that there is a wait between the two vaccine doses and supply could become an issue. Dennis said the time it could take to immunize the entire staff of the district would be “significant.”

Because of this, and the number of COVID-19 cases in Boise, Dennis said he’s expecting the district to be in a hybrid model of education for at least a month.

Trustee Beth Oppenheimer quizzed Deputy Superintendent Lisa Roberts about school staff getting vaccinated. Roberts replied that the district needs to survey the staff and figure out a plan regarding teachers who opt out of taking the vaccine.

“I don’t believe we can require the vaccine,” she said. “We hope the staff will agree to it.”

Trustees then voted unanimously to have trustee Dave Wagers and Dennis sign Gov. Brad Little’s order allowing more than 10 spectators at sporting events. Little’s order was announced on Dec. 30 and allows all participants in high school sporting events to have two guests.

However, Southern Idaho Conference (of which Boise schools are members of) leadership has made a different plan which allows fewer spectators. All SIC events will have attendance for the home team only.

Dennis said having home fans in the seats should be something that limits the risk of COVID-19 spread among all participants, since that would equate to about 25-30 parents at a time inside of a gym that seats 1,200.

The district stopped extra-curricular activities for much of the fall. On Dec. 14, the Board unanimously approved the district’s plan to return to athletics, with practice starting in full on Dec. 22 and competition starting the first week of January.

About Nik Streng

Nik Streng graduated with his bachelors degree in creative writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., in 2013 and graduated with his master’s in journalism from the University of Oregon. 

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