October 29, 2020
Dear Boise School District Parent/Guardian:
Central District Health’s decision to move Ada County into the Red category, as well as our request for parents to make a decision regarding their student’s learning environment for the second semester by November 6th, has led to some confusion and concerns over our decision to continue to offer hybrid in-person learning through the first semester.
When we created our phased return to in-person learning plan and sought Central District Health’s input, as well as input from Dr. Mark Nassir, it was agreed that if Ada County moved back to Red, depending on conditions in the District, being in Red would not necessitate a move to remote learning. We included that possibility in the question and answer part of our plan, which was released on 9/10/20. In addition, on 10/9/20, Central District Health revised their guidance to allow for in-person learning in Red.
We will remain in our current hybrid model through the end of the first semester unless guidance from public health and medical professionals, whom we meet with regularly, changes. Even if conditions improve, we will not return to 5 day-a-week in-person learning during the first semester. Our ability to maintain physical distancing within our classrooms will play a critical role in decisions for the second semester. The small class sizes we currently have in our neighborhood schools due to the number of students who are enrolled in Boise Online School have helped ensure physical distancing and the success of our hybrid model. Our enrollment numbers in our neighborhood schools for the second semester will be a major factor when we consider whether we can maintain physical distancing with a hybrid model or move to five day-a-week in-person learning.
Based on current guidelines and with the approval of Central District Health and our medical advisors, Dr. Mark Nassir and Dr. Kenny Bramwell, determination of the educational environment for the second semester, whether hybrid, all-virtual, all in-person, will be based on:
- Guidance from Central District Health (CDH),
- Guidance from medical professionals,
- Ability for schools to adhere to safety protocols, and
- Impact on school operations due to positive COVID-19 cases and staff and students in quarantine.
Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of teachers, students, principals, nurses, custodians and parents, our safety practices and protocols continue to work. We recognize the ever-evolving nature of responding to this pandemic and the uncertainty and fear it can cause. We will continue to listen to our teachers and parents about what is and isn’t working. We will closely monitor, evaluate and adjust to ensure we are operating as responsibly as possible and in accordance with the most recent data and input from public health and medical professionals.
We also understand that decisions made in the collective best interests of all of our students may conflict with an individual parent’s choice for their child. Of course, we can’t do it alone and we’ll continue to work with every student, staff member and family to provide a meaningful, engaging and safe educational environment as our community navigates this health crisis.
Boise School District Administration