Idaho coronavirus update, 4.1.20: State cancels high school SAT Day

State superintendent Sherri Ybarra

Idaho is cancelling its statewide SAT Day in response to concern over the spread of the novel coronavirus, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra announced during a webinar with school leaders Wednesday.

Already postponed once due to spread of the coronavirus, the SAT Day was scheduled for April 28.

The State Board of Education already approved a waiver exempting this year’s juniors from having to take a college entrance exam as a high school graduation requirement. State Board spokesman Mike Keckler confirmed juniors will be exempted from the requirement via the rulemaking process.

Each year, the state spends about $1 million for all juniors to take the SAT at no cost to the student on SAT Day. Last spring, 19,783 Idaho juniors took the SAT.

With free SAT Day off the table this spring, Ybarra and her lieutenants said the state is pursuing other options to allow juniors to take the SAT at another time.

“We are committed, the superintendent has directed us to work with The College Board to find a solution to ensure every junior has an opportunity to take the SAT at some time at the end of this year, in the fall or in the summer,” Director of Assessment and Accountability Karlynn Laraway said. “We are working actively with The College Board and it appears that summer and fall options are coming into view.”

Cancellation of SAT Day wasn’t the only big topic during Wednesday’s webinar, but educators and school administrators will need to wait a bit longer for answers on the other hot topics.

  • Gov. Brad Little’s budget staff and SDE officials have been meeting to develop the plan for how the new 1 percent budget holdback will affect K-12, Little’s education adviser Greg Wilson said.
  • State officials are also still working out the details for how the federal stimulus package will apply to Idaho schools.

For the past two weeks, Ybarra and the SDE staff have led webinars on Mondays and Wednesdays. Going forward, Ybarra said she will cancel the Monday webinars to focus on special, weekly State Board meetings, which Ybarra said will take place at 3 p.m. Mondays.

The upcoming April 6 State Board meeting already sounds like one to watch. State Board officials may consider extending the statewide school closure beyond April 20. Additionally, Ybarra said the State Board is also likely to discuss the spring Idaho Reading Indicator tests, which the state has yet to address as part of its coronavirus response.

Ybarra’s next webinar will take place April 8.

Confirmed cases update

At 5 p.m., the state reported the number of confirmed cases in Idaho has increased to 673. That’s an increase of 145 new cases statewide, or an increase of 27 percent, compared to the 528 cases reported Tuesday.

Overall, the state was reporting cases in 30 of Idaho’s 44 counties.
The counties with the most cases are Blaine (256), Ada (226), Canyon (68), Kootenai (31) and Nez Perce (14).

Clark Corbin

About Clark Corbin

Reporter Clark Corbin has covered Idaho government and education for more than a decade. He’s followed every legislative session, gavel-to-gavel, since 2011. Clark is a co-host of the Extra Credit podcast with Kevin Richert published on Fridays. You can follow him on Twitter: @clarkcorbin. He can be reached by email at [email protected]

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