The Vallivue School District board of trustees were the latest district in the Treasure Valley to approve full time, in-person learning for secondary students.
The four-day in-person week for middle and high school students will begin March 15.
The decision from the Vallivue board comes after the Nampa School District board of trustees approved a four-day week for secondary students and after the Caldwell School District approved a four-day week for elementary school students.
Vallivue schools have been in a hybrid schedule, with students going to school half of the time and learning online at home half the time, since Aug. 19.
In a special meeting Friday morning, middle school and high school principals in the Vallivue School District spoke with the board of trustees before it voted unanimously to open the schools. The principals agreed that they could each make returning to school full time possible, but said there would be no way they could socially distance students in classrooms and in the cafeterias.
“We would not be able to meet the standard that the CDC asks us to make,” said Shane Carson, principal of Vallivue High. “We have some control over it.”
Many of the schools are hosting two or more separate lunch time periods for students in order to ensure all students are not in the cafeteria at the same time, according to the principals.
“We know we have overcrowding situations in our schools,” said Superintendent Pat Charlton, who expressed concern that some classes, like music classes and foreign language classes, are more crowded than others.
The district surveyed parents, staff and students about how they felt about secondary students returning to school. Charlton said 60 percent of parents are in favor of bringing students back and 40 percent preferred to stick with hybrid. In the teacher survey, 53 percent were in favor of bringing secondary students back and 47 percent who would prefer to stay in hybrid. The student survey was split, with 50 percent in favor of returning to school full time and 50 percent preferring to stay in a hybrid model.
According to Southwest District Health, the Vallivue School District had seven students test positive for COVID-19 between Feb. 1 and Feb. 13 and one staff member.
Secondary students will return the week before spring break, the board said it would be a good week to test out the return before students and staff are off for a week.