At least three districts call off classes amid rising COVID-19 cases

The Caldwell, Bonneville and Madison school districts are canceling classes ahead of the weekend amid increased cases of COVID-19.

Caldwell Superintendent Shalene French announced in a letter to parents Wednesday that the district would shut down Thursday and Friday, Jan. 13 and 14. Bonneville and Madison followed suit Thursday, announcing Friday closures ahead of the three-day weekend.

School is set to resume for each district Tuesday, Jan. 18, after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which was already a no-school day in the districts.


Students will not participate in remote learning during the closure, French’s letter said, and masks will be required for students and staff after the closure until at least Jan. 21.

The district lifted its mask mandate in November, after a vaccine was made available for younger children and COVID-19 cases declined, as Idaho EdNews reported.

Students and staff can access free COVID-19 testing from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the district office at 1502 Fillmore Street.


Bonneville cited a high number of employee absences in its decision to close in-person classes Friday.

The district tallied 112 absent faculty Thursday, according to a letter to parents. It was only able to fill 58 of those positions with substitutes. Nearly 100 absences had been requested by Thursday, and the district expected 25-30 more by Friday morning.

Some learning will still take place in the district. Elementary students will not have school, but students in seventh through 12th grade will participate in half-day online learning.

The district is asking teachers and staff to show up to school Friday to prepare for a possibly longer closure.

Anyone who can substitute teach should email the district here, or call (208) 557-6821.


This East Idaho district also blamed its Friday closure on staffing shortages.

Spokeswoman Jessica Goudy told about 50 staffers had called out sick and that a lack of subs contributed.

“Extracurricular activities will still take place unless you are otherwise informed,” an email to parents read.

Idaho Education News reporter Devin Bodkin contributed to this story. 

Kyle Pfannenstiel

Kyle Pfannenstiel

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the implementation of policy in Idaho’s K-12 public school system. He’s a military brat and former health care reporter who holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science from University of Idaho. Follow Kyle on Twitter @pfannyyy. He can be reached at [email protected].

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