Twin Falls’ shift to hybrid instruction draws criticism

The Twin Falls School District will move into hybrid learning starting Wednesday, and on Monday night, some parents spoke out.

A handful of parents showed up at Monday’s school board meeting — some holding signs protesting mask mandates and accusing the district of fear-mongering. One parent, Shane Klaas, spoke for 10 minutes at the start of the meeting, saying he was “disgusted” by the district’s decision, Colin Tiernan of the Twin Falls Times-News reported Tuesday.

The decision comes as coronavirus cases are again rising rapidly in the Magic Valley. From Oct. 3 through Oct. 9, cases in Twin Falls County increased by 15 percent, outpacing even the state’s one-week increase of 9 percent. In the past two weeks, 25 Twin Falls students and employees have tested positive.

Local health officials last week moved Twin Falls County into the “orange” high-risk designation for coronavirus spread.

That move, in turn, led Twin Falls to move to the hybrid learning model, alternating between face-to-face and online instruction days.

“Based on the School Board’s conversation, I know I speak for them when I say that we share your frustration with the current situation and hope this schedule is temporary,” Superintendent Brady Dickinson said in a memo to parents, students and staff. “The board and administration hope we as a community can get the numbers down and avoid moving into full remote learning, as has happened in some other places in the state.”

While critics panned the move to hybrid learning, Canyon Ridge High School teacher Dustin Henkelmann praised administrators.

“I know that it’s often the loudest voices that seem like they get their way,” Henkelmann said, according to Tiernan. “But if my school district keeps listening to expert advice, then I’m going to keep bragging about it.”


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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