Uptick In Coronavirus Cases Moves Boise, Valley County Schools From Green To Yellow

Oct 6, 2020

Public health officials are now recommending new restrictions for five school districts in southern and central Idaho where coronavirus cases are on the rise.

Central District Health released its weekly guidance to school districts Monday, elevating those in Boise and Valley counties from the green to yellow categories.

The change means that the five school districts in those counties are recommended to stagger the number of students taking in-person classes and step up physical distancing, though changes to policy are left up to local school boards.

The McCall-Donnelly School District had already implemented an offset schedule, as well as requiring all students wear masks – even when they were in the lowest-risk category, according to Superintendent Jim Foudy.

Foudy said their current plan could change if the virus spreads more significantly through the community.

“If the cases are not showing up in the schools, but the county is red, we need to take a serious look at whether we continue this hybrid model,” he said.

Horseshoe Bend School District Superintendent Dennis Chesnut called the uptick of cases in the county “concerning,” but that he will likely wait until next week’s update from CDH before recommending any further action.

“I don't want to give our students, staff and parents mental whiplash by bouncing back and forth weekly between our yellow plan and green plan,” Chesnut said in an email.

None of the other district superintendents immediately responded to requests for comment and no emergency school board meetings in any of the districts had been set as of late Monday afternoon.

Ada and Elmore counties also saw a significant jump in coronavirus cases last week, but remain in the yellow category. That spike puts districts there on the verge of the red category, which recommends limited in-person learning. 

CDH will issue another update for schools next week.

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

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