IEA on Idaho coronavirus response: ‘We are in a crisis’

Gov. Brad Little’s move to roll back Idaho’s coronavirus reopening process will do little to make schools safer, the Idaho Education Association said Tuesday.

“The lack of accountability related to testing, tracing and transparency remains a major concern in our schools,” union president Layne McInelly said.  “Without it, and with physical space limited by classroom sizes in our state that rank sixth highest in the country, we have little confidence that the move to Stage 3 will keep students and educators safe in many areas of the state.”

Little on Monday moved Idaho back to Stage 3 of the state’s four-step reopening plan. The move will affect the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings, but will not directly address schools. And Little Monday reiterated his support of keeping schools open.

Here, in full, is the statement from McInelly:

“We appreciate Gov. Little recognizing the hard work of Idaho educators. However, the lack of accountability related to testing, tracing and transparency remains a major concern in our schools. Without it, and with physical space limited by classroom sizes in our state that rank sixth highest in the country, we have little confidence that the move to Stage 3 will keep students and educators safe in many areas of the state.  

“We are in a crisis. Local districts and communities have all the responsibility to follow the advice of medical professionals and safety protocols. The degree to which they have resources such as physical space, PPE, and testing should determine the degree of remote learning – not political pressure. We hope true partnerships between educators and administrators eclipses politics and develops one set of rules for how schools can operate safely. We look forward to cementing those rules together with our communities and parents.”

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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