IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - UPDATE 3/16/20: Bonneville School District 93 will be open Tuesday, but the district is strongly encouraging parents to keep their children home from school Tuesday. On Wednesday, schools will be closed for students. You can read Superintendent Dr. Scott Woolstenhulme's letter below.
The national and local situation with the COVID-19 outbreak changes rapidly and continually. Today, President Trump announced new guidelines advising people to not gather socially in groups of ten or more. In response to this announcement, we are strongly encouraging parents to keep their children home from school tomorrow. On Wednesday schools will be closed for students.
On Tuesday, we will keep our schools open to support those families who cannot keep their children home, especially single-parent families, families who need additional time to plan for adequate child care, and parents who work in the medical or emergency services professions. While teachers will be primarily focused on developing online learning activities, paraprofessionals will be available to provide intervention and enrichment activities for students.
On Wednesday, our schools will be closed for students. Closing schools will allow our teachers to work together to develop school-supported, home-centered learning activities for students.
The other significant announcement today was the suspension of all extracurricular activities by the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) until April 6th. This announcement prohibits students from participating in any activities associated with all IHSAA sanctioned activities, including spring sports, drama, debate, speech, dance, cheer, and music. Please go to www.idhsaa.org for more guidance on this decision. In keeping with the announcements from President Trump and the IHSAA, our gyms and facilities will be closed before and after school, on weekends, and during Spring Break until this prohibition is lifted.
At this time, our intent is to resume school on March 30 after Spring Break. However, we will continue to monitor this situation very closely and take the necessary actions to protect the health and safety of our students if there is an outbreak of the disease in our community. As with all of our decisions, these actions will be taken with the guidance of Eastern Idaho Public Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Please understand that the emergency school closures will not have any impact on the spread of COVID-19 unless families also follow the guidelines from the CDC and our local public health agencies. If students meet socially during the next two weeks, closing schools will not successfully slow the spread of the disease. If your family is traveling during Spring Break, please follow the guidance of the CDC to keep your family and our community safe (www.cdc.gov).
Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to work through this unprecedented situation.
Dr. Scott Woolstenhulme
ORIGINAL: The Bonneville School Board of trustees met with an emergency board meeting on Sunday evening.
Superintendent Dr. Scott Woolstenhulme updated the board on meetings he had with local health officials and government leaders.
Dr. Woolstenhulme proposed to relax the 90% attendance policy for the remainder of the school year. This would allow parents and students to stay home if they felt to do so.
Dr. Woolstenhulme said many parents have expressed concerns about their children's health and their own health.
The board approved the motion.
The board also approved canceling classes this Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20, calling it a professional development day for teachers and staff. The days would be used to help deep clean the schools and allow teachers to create lessons for students if they are at home.
Students are on the spring break March 23 - 27.
The board will meet again Wednesday night for their regular scheduled meeting and will most likely address more items related to the coronavirus outbreak.