K-12 coronavirus cases hit another milestone

Coronavirus cases in Idaho’s K-12 system reached a new plateau last week.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Monday reported at least 500 new coronavirus in the schools. This represents a 3 percent increase from cases initially reported a week ago.

This week’s hotspot was the Idaho Youth Challenge Academy, a residential high school for at-risk students, located in Pierce. The school reported 19 new cases last week, on top of another 37 cases the week of Nov. 13. These 37 cases were not previously reported and were not included in Health and Welfare’s Nov. 16 report.

Since those 37 cases were not part of the Nov. 16 total of 485 cases, it’s possible that new cases across the K-12 system actually decreased last week — even as overall Idaho cases hit single-day

Other K-12 hotspots:

  • Bonneville High School, Idaho Falls: 14 cases for the week, at least 38 cases for the year.
  • Eagle High School: 13 cases for the week, 53 for the year.
  • Meridian High School: 13 cases for the week, 49 for the year.
  • Rocky Mountain High School, Meridian: 13 cases for the week, 35 for the year.
  • Mountain View High School, Meridian: 12 cases for the week, at least 62 for the year.
  • Timberline High School, Boise: 11 cases for the week, 45 for the year.
  • Boise High School: 11 cases for the week, 35 for the year.
  • Rocky Mountain Middle School, Idaho Falls: 10 cases for the week, at least 30 for the year.
  • Sandcreek Middle School Ammon: 10 cases for the week, at least 28 for the year.
  • Lowell Scott Middle School, Boise: 10 cases for the week, 17 for the year.

The weekly K-12 case counts are preliminary — as the Idaho Youth Challenge Academy numbers indicate. They’re also incomplete. The state does not release student and staff case numbers for schools with fewer than 50 students, citing privacy concerns. The state also releases only minimum case numbers for some schools.

The state’s two largest school districts are closed this week for Thanksgiving break — and they are reporting mixed case numbers.

The Boise School District has reported 53 confirmed cases and nine probable cases since Tuesday. By contrast, confirmed and probable case numbers surged to 230 from Nov. 3 to 16. The increase prompted Boise to abandon its hybrid of face-to-face and online learning. After Thanksgiving, the district’s 25,000 students will attend class online through at least mid-January.

Case numbers continue to rise in the West Ada School District, which has reported 268 cases since Nov. 9. Nearly half of the cases are in West Ada high schools, such as Eagle, Meridian, Rocky Mountain and Mountain View. And the high schools’ incidence rate continues to rise; the current rate, 67 cases per 100,000 residents, is up from 57 cases per 100,000 residents a week ago.

West Ada’s 38,000 students attend classes part-time, on a hybrid learning schedule.

Kevin Richert

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 "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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