UPDATED Letter from CDA School District
We have some important and timely updates to share with you regarding school schedules and District operating plans as we try to balance teaching and learning priorities with the health and safety of our students and staff. These updates concern students at all grade levels.
The Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider moving the entire District from the Yellow to the Orange risk level at a special board meeting Monday at 11:30 a.m. The board’s discussion and possible action are in response to this week’s decision by Panhandle Health District to place Kootenai County back in the Orange risk level.
The District Administration is proposing a new schedule for students in grades K-8 to ensure they receive more in-person instruction than they would under our original blended learning model. This new schedule would remain in effect when the District is in either Yellow or Orange risk levels.
We have seen growing sentiment expressed by families, teachers, community members and our Board of Trustees that students, especially our youngest learners, clearly benefit academically and socially from in-classroom learning as much as possible. When public health conditions in our community warrant a move to the Orange level, there is serious concern about how much face-to-face learning our young students are missing.
In order to address that concern, the administration is proposing revisions to the District’s Reopening Plan, and the School Board will consider this proposal during its meeting Monday. If approved, elementary and middle school students would experience in-classroom instruction four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Students in grades K-8 will learn remotely from home on Wednesdays, which will afford teachers time to plan for blended learning; collaborate on improving instruction and the use of Schoology; connect online with families and children; provide additional support for students who are isolated or quarantined; improve our cohorting efforts to reduce the number of students quarantined; and clean and sanitize learning areas.
Because this proposed schedule is designed to persist regardless of whether we are in Yellow or Orange, the consistency of the new schedule will provide greater stability and continuity while reducing the effects and stress that families and students experience when schools are asked to switch schedules. In this new proposed plan, the District would reserve the option, on a case-by-case basis, to place a school in the original blended learning schedule, with students attending in person two days a week, if that school is experiencing a high number of COVID-related absences.
Our health and safety measures (wearing masks, social distancing, hand-washing, cohorting, and cleaning) will remain in place and will continue to be rigorously followed.
Additionally, Superintendent Steven Cook made an administrative decision today to move our three high schools back to the Orange (moderate risk) category beginning next week. Starting Monday, October 19, students at Coeur d’Alene High School, Lake City High School and Venture High School will return to their previous schedule of attending classes in-person two days a week (Monday-Tuesday, or Thursday-Friday) and remotely the other three days a week. Students will use the same schedule as they did for the first three weeks of the school year.
Any change in our operating status typically would go into effect one week later. However, our administrative decision to return to Orange sooner for our high schools is in response to the degree to which COVID-19 positive test results and associated exposures resulting in quarantine have occurred among students at that level. We are hopeful that this action will reduce the number of students being quarantined, and help reduce the risk of in-school transmission of the virus at this time.