KSD submits plan for approval

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | August 4, 2020 4:48 PM

KELLOGG — After 21 hours of conferences, small group meetings and a lot of information sharing, the Kellogg School District came up with a reopening plan that it feels comfortable submitting to the school board for approval.

By using a large committee of more than 60 people that consisted of district staff, teachers, administrators, parents and community members, the KSD wanted to come up with a comprehensive and in-depth plan for reopening its schools in September.

The result?

A 47-page document that laid out plans for each individual school, as well as school athletics and activities, student and staff well-being and mental health, special education, food services, IT, instruction and curriculum, custodial and maintenance, transportation, as well as how to handle student and staff absences.

The main group was broken up into sub-groups that each tackled one of the aforementioned categories, and was then required to come up with three plans for their topic based from the Idaho State Board of Education’s (SBOE) three category classifications for how schools are being affected by COVID-19.

Those categories are as follows:

Category 1 includes no or limited community transmission. Schools in that category should open buildings for face-to-face classes with physical distancing and sanitation procedures, the state plan recommends.

Category 2 includes minimal to moderate community transmission. Schools in that category should consider a range of options from full opening to limited or staggered use of school buildings.

Category 3 includes large-scale community transmission that impacts health care staffing or sees multiple cases in schools, mass gatherings or health care facilities.

Those schools should consider short- or long-term closures.

These categories are really dependent upon the health and safety of the community, which means that residents have the ability to potentially help or hinder where their schools are categorized.

One of the biggest points of the KSD plan is surrounding its proposed scheduling kids to attend school depending on what category it is in.

The SBOE assumes that most schools will likely operate in category 2, and despite that knowledge the district still made sure to have a plan for category 1 and 3 as well.

At the high and middle school levels, the scheduling process is relatively easy to comprehend.

Should any of the schools be operating under the category 1 plans, schools would be open 5-days a week and kids would attend as usual.

However, under the current category 2 plan schools would be on a hybrid schedule, with purple and gold days.

Students would be grouped together alphabetically by last name and by family unit, and then those groups would alternate days with in-school learning and out-of-school or remote learning.

If the school should go to category 3, the schedule would remain the way it does for category 2, but with no in-school learning and students would utilize Google Meet for their instruction time.

The elementary school schedules are a little more difficult simply because at that age, children aren’t as capable of working independently.

Outside any category beside category 1, elementary students will utilize various hybrid schedules, with similar block-style A and B days, limited classroom capacities, and reduced length of school days.

The Kellogg School District has a unique mask situation due largely in part to geography.

Masks cannot be mandated by school districts according to district administrators, but can be enforced by way of municipal laws and ordinances.

As the city of Kellogg recently passed a mask ordinance, students and staff at Kellogg Middle School will be required to wear a mask unless there is a medical reason otherwise, the same goes for Canyon Elementary which is located inside Kootenai County (the school is recommending clear face shields instead of masks).

Kellogg High School is technically outside Kellogg’s city limits, so mask wearing is not required by law, but staff are required to wear masks and students are recommended to do the same.

Pinehurst Elementary School is simply recommending masks for students and staff at this time.

The project was a massive undertaking and KSD Superintendent Dr. Nancy Larsen was pleased with the effort that went into creating such a detailed and comprehensive plan.

“It isn’t really the plan, it was the process,” Dr. Larsen said. “If we hadn’t done the work on the three days, our staff would be scrambling to make decisions later. So, the plan reflects a great deal of detail that could potentially change, but at least we have walked through scenarios. I also wanted a large representation from more than just staff and leadership.”

The plan will now move to the Kellogg School Board, as well as Panhandle Health for approval.

The News-Press will provide access to the full reopening plan if and when it is approved.