Thursday updates: School closures across Idaho

The State Department of Education estimates that at least 95 percent of Idaho’s K-12 schools have opted to shut their doors amid coronavirus concerns.

School closures, which started on Monday, March 16, quickly escalated over the next two days. As of Thursday, March 19, EdNews has only been able to confirm that a few districts are still operating as usual – among them,  the Wallace School  District in north Idaho.

Many districts  in the state had planned spring breaks during the week of  March 23-27. Some have already announced plans to remain closed in the weeks after that break, and others plan to re-evaluate the coronavirus situation in board meetings to decide if a prolonged closure is necessary. The Nampa School District is planning to teach online after its Spring Break.

“We are anticipating an extended closure of schools,” Mountain Home superintendent James Gilbert wrote in a letter to patrons, “possibly until the end of the school year.”

Idaho Education News will not be updating this map to reflect closures during the week of March 23, when many  districts had already planned to be on spring break.

Please check back with us for ongoing coverage of which districts plan to move online (like Nampa), and how other schools plan to address closures.

Do you know of a district taking a novel approach  to continuing education? Please email editor Jennifer Swindell at [email protected]

Closures:

West Ada: Closed through spring break, possibly longer. “Based on parental and staff concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the decision to keep schools open has been revised,” the district said on its website Sunday night. “We are canceling school from now until the end of spring break.  The West Ada COVID-19 task force will meet to determine if schools will remain closed beyond spring break.”

Basin School District: Closed through March 30.

Boise: Closed until March 30. “Office staff at all schools will be available for parents to pick up student medications, personnel belongings, etc.,” the district said on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

Bonneville: Closed until March 30. Parents are advised to keep their students home Tuesday, though schools will be open.

Middleton: Closed until March 30.

Cassia County: Closed Tuesday through March 29, communications officer Debbie Critchfield said. Monday was previously scheduled as a half day, and students will use that time to prepare for the closure and gather materials they need. The district office will remain open during the closure.

Idaho Falls: Closed Tuesday through at least March 27, according to an email from the district.

Pocatello-Chubbuck: Closing Tuesday through Friday, and March 30 through April 3, the district announced via email Monday. Including next week’s spring break, the district’s students will be out of school through April 3.

Twin Falls: A “soft closure” will begin Monday. No classes will be held, but staff will be expected to report to work “to prepare for the possibility of a more extended closure.” All classes, athletics, preschool and child care will be closed through March 29, the end of spring break.

Jefferson: Closing Tuesday until April 3, according to an email from the district.

Coeur d’Alene: Closed until April 6.

Blaine County: Closed until April 6.

Lewiston: Closed until March 30.

Lapwai: Closed until March 30.

Moscow: Closed until April 6, the Lewiston Tribune reported.

Kimberly: Closed starting Tuesday, March 17.

Wendell: Classes and activities in the district are canceled until March 30.

McCall-Donnelly: Closed until April 6.

Teton: Closing schools starting Monday, according to a news release. Schools will be closed this week, and teachers will develop a distance learning plan for students. The district plans to start “home-based learning” for students the following week. The week of March 30 through April 3 is the district’s regularly planned spring break.

Elevate Academy: Closed until March 30.

The Village Charter: Closed until March 30.

Idaho Arts Charter: Closed until March 30.

Jerome: Schools closed Tuesday until March 30.

Forrest M. Bird: Will go to online classes only starting Monday. Spring break runs from March 21 to April 5.

Bear Lake: Closed Monday through April 6.

Sugar-Salem: Closed from Tuesday “until further notice” after a family member of students in the district tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday. The students were not in school on Monday, superintendent Chester Bradshaw wrote, but the district anticipates moving students to an online education model.

Madison: Closing schools starting Wednesday through April 6, according to the district’s Facebook page.

Caldwell, Emmett, Kuna, Nampa and Vallivue: All closing Tuesday, following “federal direction today that crowds of people be limited to 10 or fewer, according to an email from Kuna spokeswoman Allison Westfall Monday.

Idaho Science and Technology Charter SchoolClosing Tuesday, March 17, through April 6, according to an email from the district.

BuhlClosed until March 30, according to the district’s Facebook page.

Blackfoot: Closed Tuesday until April 6, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.

Bingham Academy: Closed until at least March 29.

Gooding: Schools closed starting Tuesday. The district is providing free curbside pickup  meals for all children ages 1-18.

Mountain Home: Schools closed from Tuesday through March 30. Parents and students are encouraged to come pick up their belongings Tuesday  and Wednesday and will be issued Chromebooks. “We are anticipating an extended closure of schools, possibly until the end of the school year,” the district said. It plans to pivot to online learning.

Clark County: Closed through spring break.

Treasure Valley Classical Academy (Fruitland): Closed through March 31, according to a post on Facebook.

Murtaugh: Closed through March 30.

Plummer-Worley:  Closed through April 5.

Lake Pend Oreille: Closed through April 5.

Camas  County: Closed through April 10.

West Side: Closed through Friday.

Bliss: Closed through March 30.

Lakeland: Closed through April 6.

Troy: Closed through March 27. Regular spring break is scheduled March 30 through April 3. The district plans to resume class on April 6.

Kamiah: Closed through April 3.

Culdesac: Closed through March 30.

Marsing: Closed through March 30.

HansenClasses canceled Tuesday and Wednesday.

Castleford: Closed starting March 17. The district plans to start “remote” education services starting March 30.

Vision Charter School (Caldwell): Closed through March 29.

McCall-Donnelly: Closed through April 3.

West Bonner School District:  Closed Wednesday through April 8.

Alturas International Academy (Idaho Falls): “Soft” close for parents who “absolutely” need to send their children Monday and Tuesday. The school will close fully from Wednesday to April 6, according to post on its Facebook page.

MinidokaThe district will start spring break three days early, on Wednesday. “We encourage you to have your student attend school on Monday and Tuesday as we will be sharing information about how they can access learning from home and assigning devices to be sent home with students on Tuesday,” the district wrote in an announcement to parents.

Melba: Closing Wednesday, according to a post on Facebook.

Fruitland: Closing Wednesday through March 31 according to the Fruitland Facebook page.

Fremont County: School open on Tuesday, but the district is starting a “soft close” on  Wednesday. Schools will be closed through April 6, but teachers hope to have a distance learning system set up by March 23. 

Payette: Plans to close Wednesday, according to a district Facebook post. Students have their planned spring break through March 30.

Ririe: Open on Monday and Tuesday, but classes closed Wednesday through Friday, followed by a planned spring break through March 27.

Homedale: School is open Tuesday, but will close Wednesday. Staff will work those days in preparation for a possible longer closure following spring break.

Salmon River: Early spring break starting on Wednesday. School is anticipated to resume on March 30th.

New Plymouth: Closing Wednesday through the regularly scheduled spring break. The district anticipates resuming school on March 30.

Firth: School is in session on Tuesday, and children are invited to come collect ChromeBooks and other instructional materials “should the Board determine that the break will extend past March 29.”

Wilder: Closed through March 27. Parent teacher conferences will be rescheduled.

Boundary County: Closed through April 5.

Notus: Closing through April 5.

Parma: Closing from Wednesday through March 30.

Challis: Schools will be closed Wednesday through March 26.

Hagerman: Closed

Weiser: Closed Wednesday through March 31.

Richfield: Closed through March 30. 

KelloggClosed through planned spring break.

Mullan: Closed through Monday, April 6. Thursday, March 19 is the last day  the district office will be open, and the

Mountain View:  Classes postponed until further notice due to health concerns and absentee rates.

Closing Thursday:

Mackay: Closed through  April 2. Parents and students are expected to pick up materials, books  and Chromebooks on March 25 for distance-learning.

Horseshoe Bend: Closing one day early  for spring break and staff is preparing for a prolonged closure.

West Jefferson: Closing Thursday through March 30.

Aberdeen: Closing Thursday, through spring break.

Bruneau-Grandview: Decided at a Tuesday night meeting to close schools on March 19. Seniors are expected to finish their senior presentations at Rimrock, and staff will deep-clean schools on Thursday. The district is on spring break from March 20-29 and afterward staff plans to continue instruction via Google Classroom.

Salmon – Closed school buildings starting Thursday, March 19.

Snake River – closed March 18-April 5.

Marsh Valley – Closed March 19-April 14.

Soda Springs  – Closed March 19 through April 2. The district will  provide at-home curriculum for  part of that break.

Still open as of Thursday, March  19:

Still open on Thursday, according to the district websites.

Shifting to online learning:

Rockland: Planning online learning from March 30 through May 17.

Check back regularly with EdNews as news continues to change. 

Sami Edge

About Sami Edge

Reporter Sami Edge, a University of Oregon graduate, joined Idaho Education News in 2019. She is a 2019 Education Writers Association fellow reporting on Latino student outcomes in Idaho. She also is a 2019 American Press Institute fellow. She can be reached at [email protected].

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