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Sandpoint High ready for reentry

Hagadone News Network | August 17, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — A back-to-school guide for students and staff attending Sandpoint High School this fall was released Friday, which indicated changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sandpoint High School has been working very hard to deliver the safest model of face-to-face instruction for our students,” Principal David Miles wrote in a letter to students and parents. “Most of our decisions are based on the philosophy of what is most likely to keep school and activities open for students.”

Starting Sept. 8, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a face covering while in the SHS building. This includes during times they cannot maintain proper social distance and other school specific programs.

“SHS believes this is the best way to keep schools open to students in a face-to-face manner,” Miles said. “This is a temporary board decision. We understand this may be a burden to some families, but we will continue to do everything we can to keep schools open in as safe a manner as practical.”

For those who are unable to attend school with the added mask mandate, SHS will be offering fully online learning with Idaho Digital Learning Academy. Students interested in this opportunity must contact a counselor this week to make arrangements.

Along with the mask requirement, SHS will replace its traditional eight-class A/B schedule with a four-class schedule per semester. Miles said the decision was made to decrease the number of overall contact with other students and staff.

“One way to visualize this is to think of students having A day classes only 1st semester and B day classes only 2nd semester,” he said.

Another change for SHS students in the 2020-2021 school year includes having a shorter daily schedule, where classes will start later at 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and end earlier in the day at 12:40 p.m. to 1:10 p.m., allowing students to take four one-hour classes per semester.

“This decreases class sizes which allow more opportunity to socially distance students and desks in a classroom,” Miles said.

Because of the shortened class periods, teachers will expect their students to continue work independently for another 30 minutes per class outside of school.

Breakfast will be served as a grab-and-go option, where students must eat their meals in their first-period classroom. A plan for lunch has not yet been determined.

More information on COVID-19 protocol can be found on the school district’s website.