With Mackay students back in classrooms following winter break, Principal Stephanie Green said everyone is doing their best to prevent another COVID-19 spike in the district.

With two new students at Stanley School, teacher Lisa Muscavage said all nine grade levels will be filled at the small school for the first time in several years.

In compliance with Gov. Brad Little’s loosened restrictions on high school athletics during the COVID-19 pandemic, Challis Athletic Director Linda Zollinger has sectioned off 32, 12-by-12 squares in the Challis High School gym bleachers.

Ahead of their January board meetings, Challis and Mackay school superintendents said it’s up in the air if college entrance exams will be required for members of the class of 2021.

More than half the students in the Challis School District have their own Chromebooks and the rest of the students will have their personal computers by February.

Challis schools Superintendent Lani Rembelski informed board members at a Dec. 8 meeting that the district will need to ask voters on March 9 for an additional $200,000 per year in their biennial supplemental levy.

With several of her students quarantining at home due to four positive coronavirus cases within the Mackay School District, music teacher Michelle Peterson said she had to push back filming their virtual Christmas concert.

Food service directors in Challis, Mackay, Salmon and Arco schools said students will have increased opportunities to try their food since the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the free meals program for the rest of the school year.

With health experts asking people to not travel for Christmas due to the coronavirus, and winter break starting in a week or so in Challis, Mackay, Arco and Salmon schools, local educators say it will be on parents to keep the virus out of schools.

Serving Challis School District students healthy, tasty meals this year has been riddled with frustrations, according to district Food Service Director Sara Jones.

Challis school board members officially made completing a senior project a requirement for 2021 graduates at their Nov. 10 meeting after State Board of Education partially waived the requirement for seniors across Idaho.

As Custer County returned to the low-risk transmission level for the coronavirus, Mackay school board members considered requiring face masks in the low, green level of their response plan.

In spite of the decision by the Idaho State Board of Education to waive the senior project requirement for graduation this school year, seniors in Custer County should be prepared to complete their projects.

As his students ripped miniature whiffle balls across the Challis High School football field with golf clubs earlier this month, physical education teacher Ed Gregory made sure rules were being followed.

Daybell Disappearance

Angie Dodge archive

With input from parents and staff, Challis school board members adjusted the COVID-19 athletic events plan during a special board meeting Oct. 21.

In the face of students’ lackluster response to the current face coverings requirement within the Challis School District, board members chose to loosen the rule, among others, in their COVID-19 response plan at a special Oct. 21 meeting.

With federal and state coronavirus relief money, several accounts used to keep the Challis School District operational during the pandemic received approval at an Oct. 13 school board meeting.

The coronavirus response plans adopted by the Challis and Mackay school districts have been adjusted now that school has been in session for several weeks.

When Custer County returned to the minimal-risk category related to the coronavirus, it prompted officials with the Challis and Mackay school districts to return to the green phases of their operating plans.

After delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, Challis schools Food Director Sarah Jones said elementary students will get to munch on free, fresh fruits and vegetables again starting Sept. 21 thanks to a $9,675 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

After some confusion earlier in the pandemic, Mackay school board members and Superintendent Susan Buescher clarified how federally expanded sick leave for teachers and staff will work going forward at a special board meeting held Sept. 8.

Plans for extracurricular activities in the Challis school district and bus routes for the school year pegged to begin Aug. 26 are on the agenda for the Tuesday, Aug. 11 school board meeting.

Challis school board members have awarded contracts for fuel, propane and garbage collection for the coming school year.

Challis students will see a 5 cent increase for breakfast and lunch next year, after school board members approved the increase at their July 14 meeting.

A full list of COVID-19 recommendations for high school fall sports in Idaho won't be released until July 1, but the virus has already prompted some changes, according to Challis schools Superintendent Lani Rembelski.

Challis students and teachers are hoping they can return to their classrooms in the fall, but the superintendent said that will come with strings attached.

While the Challis School District will get less money from the state because of the coronavirus-caused recession, it received a bump from the federal government in response to the virus.

Because Challis students still aren’t allowed to congregate in large groups, Challis schools Superintendent Lani Rembelski said the end-of-the-year awards ceremony was postponed and will be held in the fall.

If remote schooling continues for the fall semester, Challis schools Food Service Director Sara Jones said her staff will be ready with hot meals for students, no matter how far they live from Challis.

Mackay High School’s nine graduating seniors will receive recognition for their achievements Saturday, June 27. A 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on the football field is planned.

Challis school board members allocated $65,000 from the district’s capital improvement fund to have the Challis Elementary School parking lot surveyed and repaved.

Challis High School seniors will graduate as planned on May 17, but social distancing rules and lingering coronavirus concerns will make celebrating their achievements challenging.

Challis school district students won’t see the inside of a school building until fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. School board members agreed to continue remote online education for the rest of the year and end the year as planned on May 21. Board members discussed conducting school…

Challis students received instructional packets last week that detailed what learning will be like for them as their schools remain closed till at least April 20 due to the coronavirus.

Challis schools Superintendent Lani Rembelski spoke to Challis City Council members last week about the “funky chunk” of the elementary school’s parking lot owned by the district and to see if the city is willing to part with the section of the lot it owns.

Challis second-graders were joined by members of the Leah O’Keefe chapter of the National Honor Society for Read Across America events on Feb. 27.

Jennifer Zollinger became Challis High School’s athletic director for the rest of the school year after school board members appointed her to the post last week.

Every year select Mackay FFA students participate in the breeding livestock project via an interview process by community leaders.