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What school districts are doing to prevent and prepare for the coronavirus

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Schools across the nation have moved their classes online due to the coronavirus spreading.

Bonneville School District 93 Superintendent Scott Woolstenhulme met with other area superintendents Thursday to discuss how schools in our area should react.

"Right now they're just saying that one of the big cautions is to not overreact and make sure that we are planning and preparing," Woolstenhulme said.

With guidance from the State Department of Education, the superintendents discussed their plans for sanitation of the schools, canceling or postponing school events like theater shows, sporting events, out of state trips, or any large group gatherings.

The big debate centered on how to know when to cancel school for the district or move classes to an online platform.

Another issue: how work with families who don't have internet access.

"Providing flexibility that students could stay home and learn from home. And so those are the things we need to take back and evaluate with our staff to see is that step we can take because we do have some parents that are just really uncomfortable sending their kids to school right now," Woolstenhulme said.

Each superintendent has plans in place should coronavirus impact their district.

For the University of Idaho, online schooling will be tested when students come back from spring break, "The first two days Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th, all of our classes will be online, and it'll be a test to see how well online delivery happens across campus," said Lee Ostrom from the University of Idaho.

The number one goal for all of the superintendents, keeping the students safe.

"I fundamentally believe our kids are not at risk from the corner virus in our schools and we'll take every step to make sure that's necessary or that they are protected there. But if the situation changes that will absolutely be prompt and respond to that," Woolstenhulme said.

Preventative plans are already in place.

“We've got some good opportunities coming up tomorrow we don't have school for students and so we're going to use that opportunity for custodians to go in, do a deep cleaning with our classrooms, we'll do the same thing with our school buses. Then in a week when we're on spring break, we'll do the same thing, so doing a lot of preventative measures. Ensuring that our students are following good hand washing protocols, we're going to start disinfecting our computers and Chrome books and just trying to do those things that we know will be effective in preventing the disease from spreading,” Woolstenhulme said.

A big concern for many of the superintendents is whether or not the state is going to require this year's ISAT testing. As of right now, the State Department of Education says the test will still be given.

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Jilliana Colina

Jilliana is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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