Gee announced as Ririe School District's new superintendent

Jeff Gee

Ririe School District has been operating remotely this week after multiple staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

The announcement was first made in a letter to district parents over the weekend. Superintendent Jeff Gee said that seven employees across the two schools in the district had tested positive for the virus and nine others were in quarantine or waiting for test results. Gee said that while the virus did not appear to have spread to students, the lack of substitutes and teachers would not have allowed the district to hold classes.

“We know that online learning is not the best way for us to teach our kids, but it’s been a good option in this scenario,” Gee said.

Ririe has already been holding remote classes on Fridays this school year, so students had some experience with the format prior to this week. Randy Martineau, principal at Ririe Junior-Senior High School, said most teachers were live-streaming classes from their home this week for the same length of time as a normal class.

High school sports have continued at Ririe due to the lack of cases among students. The high school volleyball teams played three matches against Firth High School on Tuesday and will host Butte County High School on Thursday.

“We are still able to staff those athletic events, but we require and encourage face masks and social distancing when possible,” Martineau said.

The most recent State Board of Education numbers show that 746 students are enrolled in Ririe School District. Gee said the district was on track to return to the buildings beginning Monday, which would be nearly 10 days since the COVID-positive staff members had last been at the schools.

Jefferson County is in the “moderate risk” zone for the coronavirus from Eastern Idaho Public Health and has a mask mandate in place. The county has reported more than 70 new virus cases since Friday.

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