Little: Ignoring health guidelines jeopardizes school reopening

The actions Idahoans take now will affect the ability of schools to reopen in person next month, Gov. Brad Little said Tuesday.

During his weekly AARP Idaho telephone town hall meeting, Little criticized large gatherings where people did not maintain social distance or adhere to other guidelines, such as a June music festival at the Twin Falls fairgrounds.

Little said such behavior can harm the economy and prevent children from returning to school, because it  increases the spread of the new coronavirus.

“Those people and the organizers need to be aware that they are risking economic prosperity in the Magic Valley and kids going back school,” Little said. “We have every intent on having schools open but, a big super spreader event that overloads health care capacity of Magic Valley will jeopardize kids going back to school.”

Little used Tuesday’s call to set up his Thursday announcement about reopening schools and Idaho’s status in stage four of the four-step Idaho Rebounds business reopening plan.

“The State Board of Education, superintendent and myself, we’re going to release our statewide plan,” Little said.

The public health experts advising Little have raised concerns about youth sports, including contact events and travel. Guidelines on sports, including information about what decisions should be made by school districts and what should be left to the Idaho High School Activities Association, have been in drafts of the reopening plan, Little said.

Little’s Public School Reopening Committee is developing the plan. The committee originally set a June 30 deadline to issue guidance to help trustees and superintendents develop local reopening plans.

The committee will first present its guidance to the State Board at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Little’s announcement is set for noon on Thursday.

Little’s next telephone town hall is scheduled for noon, July 21. There will be no call next week.

Check back with Idaho Education News Thursday afternoon for complete coverage of Little’s school reopening announcement.

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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