George Boland

Idaho Falls School District 91 has announced its reentry plan for fall classes.

Superintendent George Boland and the reopening committee announced the plan late Tuesday after meeting to finalize details and go over survey results from a recent questionnaire to parents. The proposed plan will go to the school board on July 15 for its official approval.

The reentry plan asks the district to prepare three outlines for how classes will proceed in the 2020-2021 school year, depending on the situation with the coronavirus in Idaho Falls. Similar three-tiered plans had been rolled out by White Pine Charter School and Jefferson Joint School District over the last week.

The plan district officials hope to use at the start of the school year is a return to mostly normal lessons for most students. Parents would be encouraged to have their children wear masks or face shields at school and find ways to get to school without using buses, but neither will be mandatory. Classrooms will be rearranged to provide more social distancing, and schedules could be tweaked to reduce large gatherings of students during the day.

The next step up in severity would see a change to an alternating day schedule where each student would attend just two days per week. Students would come to school on either Mondays and Wednesdays or on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Fridays reserved for teacher preparations or working with individual students. On the other days, there would be work for students to do at home but a limited amount of new material would be taught.

Finally, the district will have plans in place for a return to remote instruction, like last spring, if there is a rapid growth in cases. That situation would see almost all school events canceled to reduce the potential spread of the virus, though some small group lessons could be held depending on the situation.

The alternating days and full school closures could be enacted at different scales within the district, depending on the recommendations from Eastern Idaho Public Health and whether cases are detected in school, so schools could end up with different operations during the year as the district makes adjustments.

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.