Planning for all of KSD’s moving parts

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | July 31, 2020 12:04 PM

KELLOGG — The Kellogg School District officials have been working diligently over the past few days as they prepare to present reopening plans for review by both its school board and the Panhandle Health District.

Superintendent Dr. Nancy Larsen put together what she calls the “Back To School Committee” — a group of more than 60 district staff, health professionals and parents asked to meet over three days to put together a comprehensive plan for reopening the Silver Valley’s largest school district.

Beginning on Tuesday, the committee members were divided into small breakout groups, each with a primary focus toward the overall goal of reopening.

Groups specifically focused on Canyon Elementary, Pinehurst Elementary, Kellogg Middle School and Kellogg High School, school athletics and activities, student and staff well-being/mental health, special education, food services, IT, instruction and curriculum, custodial and maintenance, transportation, and how to handle student and staff absences.

The committee members were given some direction prior to being broken up into their respective groups, which included presentations from Panhandle Health’s Lora Whalen, Heritage Health’s Tracey Sutton, Shoshone Medical Center’s Dr. David Lawhorn, KSD nurse Nicole Lewis and Canyon Principal Jenny Ferreira.

Once the groups broke off, they were encouraged to communicate with each other throughout each day — making sure that nothing that they plan for their specific objective would interfere with any other group’s objective.

Whalen explained the three categories that the Idaho State Board of Education came up with that schools will be operating in. These categories essentially force schools to have three plans available for operation during the 2020/21 school year.

Those categories include:

• 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.

While nothing is set in stone (as of press time, the three-day committee meeting has yet to conclude), it seems likely that the School District will have recommendations for students and staff to wear masks, as well as operate on a rotating schedule where they would split time between physical classrooms and then having remote learning days from home.

It is also likely that the Kellogg School District will open under the purview of category 2, much like the rest of the state.

As day three of the meetings wraps up Friday, the KSD will have a pretty good idea of what its reopening plans will look like, prior to submitting it for approval from the school board and then Panhandle Health.

The News–Press will publish the full reopening plan if and when it is approved.