Idaho Falls will move high schools to hybrid learning

High schoolers in the Idaho Falls School District will move to a hybrid learning model on Oct. 12, and students will attend classes two days a week.

Trustees voted 3-2 Wednesday to move students at Compass Academy, Idaho Falls and Skyline high schools to the district’s yellow model for learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Students at these schools will now attend classes twice a week in one of two cohorts based on their last names:

  • A-K will attend school on Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • L-Z will attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

High schoolers will still have access to some learning labs and intervention programs on Fridays.

For now, students at all other Idaho Falls schools will continue to attend classes four days a week, under the district’s blue model.

Wednesday’s decision followed an update from officials at Eastern Idaho Public Health and nearly three hours discussion among trustees about curbing increased levels of absenteeism from high school students asked to quarantine as a COVID-19 precaution.

“(Changing to yellow) is going to put a lot of stress on a lot of families,” said trustee Paul Haacke, who along with trustee Larry Wilson opposed the change.

Board chair Lara Hill acknowledged a disruption for some families, but stressed that the change would only impact high schoolers, not those with younger children.

“The (high schools) are drowning,” Hill said. “We need to give them some relief and get through the trimester.”

Superintendent George Boland added that moving the schools to yellow would minimize the number of students being randomly asked to quarantine based on “where they sat at school that day.”

Trustees Hillary Radcliffe and Elizabeth Cogliati voted with Hill in support of the change. Delaying the change until Oct. 12 would give students, families and teachers time to plan and adjust, Boland said, stressing the uncertainty the pandemic has brought to the school year.

“It’s really all one big experiment,” Boland said.

 

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow and the Idaho Press Club's 2019 print reporter of the year. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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