School's Out: West Ada Cancels Class For A Second Day

Oct 19, 2020

Idaho’s largest school district has cancelled classes for a second day after teachers called out sick again, demanding better safety measures during the pandemic.

As of Monday afternoon, 440 teachers had called in sick for Tuesday, according to district spokesperson Char Jackson. In an email to parents, district officials said they could not hold classes “due to supervision concerns.”

Last week, West Ada School District’s board of trustees voted to return all kids to the classroom four days a week on an alternating schedule in spite of the county’s rising coronavirus cases. The new schedule was supposed to take effect Monday.

Public health officials have kept Ada County in the red category for two weeks in a row now.

The West Ada Education Association, which is the district’s teachers’ union, said safety isn’t being prioritized.  

“We don’t have enough teachers or enough classrooms to divvy our kids out enough so that the class size is small enough to physical distance within our facilities,” said Eric Thies, the group’s president.

West Ada has acknowledged not having enough space to physically distance, as well as problems with enforcing its mask mandate at every school.

Thies said he met with district officials Monday morning and felt like they understood the union’s concerns. As of Monday afternoon, he’s not urging teachers to call out sick on Wednesday in hopes of a speedy resolution.

Any changes to classroom schedules must be approved by West Ada trustees, which is next set to meet on Oct. 27.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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