This year has been challenging for public school teachers navigating the pandemic. As the Idaho Legislature picks up speed in it’s final few weeks this session, we take a look at policy through the lens of educators. 

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Legislature is ramping up as bills begin getting approved by both chambers. Higher education budgets are on the docket next week at the statehouse, a discussion over vouchers for private schools continues and a Republican lawmaker is pushing for driver privledges for undocumented immigrants. Idaho Matters gets the rundown on these topics and more on this week's Reporter Roundtable. 

LM Otero / AP Photo


Yesterday, one of Idaho’s biggest school districts returned to the virtual classroom after the holiday break. The Boise School District is home to nearly 25,000 students and about 4,500 employees. 

Marco Ugarte / AP Images

One of the big issues for students when it comes to distance learning is not having adequate WiFi. A Boise-based tech company, MetaGeek, is offering anyone who’s involved with remote learning free home WiFi help. That means if you’re a teacher or a student, you’ll have free help in making sure your WiFi is stable.

Megan Skelly / Flickr Creative Commons

The pandemic has impacted us all in different ways. But a nearly universal impact has come to our mental health. For students and educators, the importance of tending to mental health needs in order to be able to learn and teach is critical. 

Earlier this week, Boise State University hosted a national summit on mental health, meant to help campus communities identify areas of need and direct people to resources for help. On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the Idaho State Board of Education will host its own digital mental health summit.

St. Luke’s Health System

With record breaking numbers of new COVID-19 cases and fatalities, Idaho is in the worst phase of the pandemic so far. The coronavirus is having an effect on all aspects of life. Even if you or your loved ones never get sick with COVID, there's no way to avoid the economic, political and public health effects in Idaho. 

Janine Vincent / Newton County Schools via AP

This interview originally aired Aug. 13, 2020.

Ada County Elections / via Twitter

We're just a few days away from a consequential general election and COVID-19 is continuing to strain our healthcare system in Idaho. So, plenty to talk about on this week's Idaho Matters Reporter Roundtable. Boise State Public Radio's Heath Druzin, BoiseDev's Margaret Carmel and Idaho Ed News's Kevin Richert tell us what we need to know (and might have missed).  

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.