Medical Expert Offers Letter of Support for School Safety Measures Helping to Prevent Transmission of COVID-19 in our Schools
Boise School Board to Hear Update from Medical Professionals During Monday Board Meeting
Boise, ID -- 11/05/2020 -- While community spread of COVID-19 in Ada County continues to alarm local health officials, transmission rates in Boise schools remain low. A letter written to the Boise School Board by Dr. Kenny Bramwell, System Medical Director, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, supports the Boise School District’s current safety measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.
In the letter dated November 4, 2020, Dr. Bramwell writes: “We appreciate the due diligence underway to ensure policies and procedures aimed at keeping children, teachers, and staff as safe as possible remain up-to-date based on the level of community spread.”
Dr. Bramwell, Dr. Mark Nassir, President, Saint Alphonsus Medical Group, and officials from Central District Health meet regularly with the Boise School District administration to monitor, evaluate and provide guidance to the District regarding school operations. Health officials did note, that while transmission rates in schools have been extremely low, community spread is very much a concern.
The District is presently operating in a hybrid learning environment. Each week, students receive two days of in-person learning and three days of virtual learning. The District also offers Boise Online School for those students and families who do not feel comfortable in an in-person learning environment.
While the District is reporting probable and positive cases of COVID-19, medical experts and District officials assure the public that the vast majority of the current cases are not due to spread of the virus within schools or facilities, but are primarily associated with non-school related activities. The District credits students and staff adhering to the District’s pandemic operation plans for mitigating spread of the virus. The District’s pandemic operation plans, which follow CDC guidelines and were approved by Central District Health and medical professionals, require:
- wearing of face coverings
- regular hand washing
- disinfecting/sanitizing of surfaces; and
- physical distancing
“Consistently adhering to these safety measures will change the trajectory of the virus in our community and in our schools,” writes Dr. Bramwell.
“In short, we feel that if schools can require masks, distancing, and handwashing as outlined, that the schools can minimize the risks to our children and we are supportive of an in-person learning option. We understand that you must weigh many factors in making decisions about the balance of in-person versus online education available to students in your district and may even determine at some point these factors weigh against in-person education. We applaud your continued efforts to evaluate these risks and provide options that help families make the choice they feel is best for their children and families.”
The Boise School District greatly appreciates the guidance of Central District Health, Dr. Bramwell and Dr. Nassir and will not hesitate to adjust our learning model should they recommend we do so.
The Boise School Board is scheduled to hear from Dr. Bramwell and Dr. Nassir on Monday, November 9th. During that meeting, they are scheduled to update the Board about COVID-19 in our community and field questions submitted by District staff members and others.
The Board meeting will be held virtually and begin at 6 p.m. The meeting will be live streamed for public viewing via the District’s YouTube Channel.
When available, the Board’s meeting agenda will be posted online.