Melani McAlister/ Flickr Creative Commons

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the educational system, many teachers, parents and school administrators are grappling with how to best educate students and keep them safe from COVID-19. RISE, the Treasure Valley’s education partnership, will hold a symposium Friday that will focus on the impact the pandemic is having on public education and what we can do to help Idaho’s youth. 

Rick Bowmer / AP Photo

A lot happened in Idaho news this week. Between our most recent spike in COVID-19 cases (including a report on Idaho schools from the White House) some new research on the health concerns facing Latina farmworkers in the Treasure Valley, the beginning of debate season in the Gem State plus a new effort to keep people in their homes and stave off evictions in Canyon County, there's plenty to cover.

Idaho Statesman

There's a lot to cover this week on the Reporter Roundtable: Boise State Football will be competing this fall after all (so it seems), K-12 schools have seen their first death among an employee from COVID-19 as cases of the virus to the public remains opaque in many districts, and absentee ballots are being delayed in some parts of Idaho.

John Locher / AP Images

After starting the week with a promising downward trend in new COVID-19 cases, Idaho saw it's deadliest single day this week. Still, health districts are considering opening bars and schools while downtown Boise is losing a corporate tenant. At the same time, unprecedented wildfires spurred by climate change, poor fire policy and building practices are burning through communities in neighboring Oregon and Washington, providing a cautionary tale to Idaho as smoke moves back into the region.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

This week on the Idaho Matters Reporter Roundtable,  we catch up on the latest with chaotic school reopenings (both K-12 schools and college campuses), dissect the state's latest unemployment data, and get an update on a petition from 12 Boise bars lobbying health officials to allow them to reopen. 

Rick Bowmer / AP Images


The uncertainty and rapidly changing landscape for kids returning to school is creating a lot of stress and anxiety for families. And providing a place — whether it’s at home or at school — where children can safely thrive educationally and emotionally has never been more challenging. 

Steve Conner / AP Images

On today's Reporter Roundtable, we discuss the upcoming special session for lawmakers during a pandemic, what cancelling Boise State University's football season means for the school's bottom line, the inequities in school reopenings facing Latino students, and fighting wildfires during COVID-19.  

Janine Vincent / Newton County Schools via AP


Even though COVID-19 seems to be not affecting children’s bodies as much as it is adults, the disease is not being so kind to children’s minds. No one is immune to the stress that comes with a pandemic and related quarantining. However, many mental health experts believe children may be at a particular risk.

LM Otero / AP Images

It was another tumultuous week in Idaho as the state continues to struggle against the coronavirus. While there are some signs that hot spots in the southwest part of the state are beginning to slow down in new cases, hospitalizations are up and another 26 fatalities were reported by the state since Sunday. With that backdrop, schools are trying to reopen. 

Karen Apricot / Flickr Creative Commons

Many public schools in Idaho are only five weeks away from the scheduled first day of school, but planning how to safely open school doors during the coronavirus pandemic is uncertain at best.


student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

When Governor Brad Little unveils the much-anticipated school reopening guideline from his Public School Reopening Committee on July 9, Debbie Critchfield, president of the Idaho State Board of Education, says the plan will have a primary theme: getting more Idaho kids back in school.

student, classroom, ipad
FlickingerBrad / Flickr Creative Commons


As families continue to stay home in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many parents have had to take on a new role: that of educator. In normal circumstances that is a big lift. Add a global pandemic to the ask, and it can be overwhelming. 

iptv, idaho public television, distance learning, pbs
Idaho Public Television


K-12 public school students and parents are navigating uncertain territory these days with schools still closed around Idaho. Depending on the district, schools might be better or worse equipped to teach students online. 



In 2018,  the group Reclaim Idaho spearheaded an effort to expand Medicaid in Idaho, which passed with 61% of the vote. Now, the group has turned its attention to another hot topic in the state: education funding. 

Colorado just passed a bill that will create media literacy guidelines for schools. It joins Utah and a growing number of states tackling this issue.


The funding formula for K-12 education in Idaho is a complicated equation that was established 24 years ago. Idaho Education Association president Kari Overall joins us to discuss the stability of the funding mechanism and how it can be improved.


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have found plenty to talk about in two testy, nationally televised debates.

But K-12 hasn’t made its way through the noise.

And there’s no guarantee Wednesday night’s third and final debate will be any different.

So, if the two major party candidates were forced to debate K-12 topics, what would it sound like? To get a sense of how a K-12 debate might play out, Idaho Education News gleaned comments from the candidates’ websites and media interviews.

Question: What letter grade would you give the nation’s schools?