Emmett marks 100 days of in-person school

Secondary students in the Emmett School District will reach 100 days of in-person instruction on Thursday for this school year. The mark was met by the district’s elementary students on Feb. 19.

Emmett Superintendent Craig Woods said his staff and students focused on things like washing their hands and disinfecting high touch surfaces. Emmett had a mask mandate for the three weeks of school between the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks to help mitigate any spread from the holidays.

“We’re really proud to say that the other 4A schools in the Treasure Valley can’t claim that same thing,” Woods said of the streak. “It’s because we took precautions and a risk, but I believe parents and staff will agree that it’s been a risk worth taking, especially now as we see numbers like we have the past three weeks.”

From Jan. 26 to Feb. 22, Emmett has seen two positive cases of COVID-19 and 11 quarantines among students and staff.

Woods also attributes the district’s in-person learning milestone to the “hard work” of teachers, administrators and parents.

“I would like to say things went smoothly, and there were times when things went as planned. As a district administrator and board of trustees, our plan looked really good from the 30,000 foot level, but on the ground at times it was messy,” Woods said. “I think communication and compromise has been what has helped us to stay in school.”

The district has had its fair share of COVID-19 cases and quarantines this year. For the year, Emmett has had 158 confirmed cases of the virus among students and staff, with 636 quarantines. The lion’s share of those numbers came in 2020, with 134 positive COVID-19 cases and 584 quarantines falling between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31.

Secondary students at Emmett started the school year with two weeks of hybrid learning due to a high number of cases of COVID-19 in the county at the time. There was one day of school closures in September.

In the first week of February, the district had just one confirmed case of the virus, with one quarantine.

“We’re keeping students and staff safe in a face-to-face environment, the best environment for learning,” Woods said.

The district also created an avenue for staff members to voluntarily get the COVID-19 vaccination. A clinic was held on Jan. 29 and the second dose will be available on March 5.

While Emmett has been in classes for most of the school year, many other Treasure Valley school districts were in a hybrid learning model but are now preparing to return to classes full time in the coming weeks. Idaho Ed News has been following schools’ reopening plans, with Boise School District’s available here and many others available here. EdNews’ map of all school’s operational plans is available here

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