Idaho schools get OK to open to students this fall; hybrid options part of plan

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s 300,000 schoolkids in grades K-12 can return to schools this fall but with flexible learning strategies to protect them and their communities during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Brad Little said Thursday.

The plan, unanimously approved by the Idaho State Board of Education a few hours earlier, says schools must be prepared to teach students with traditional face-to-face methods in the classroom, distance learning online, or a hybrid combination.

“We don’t want to have a big asterisk next to the (school) year 20/21 and say these kids were lost to the coronavirus gap,” the Republican governor said during a news conference that went over an hour. “That is not acceptable to me, and I don’t think that is acceptable to the people of Idaho.”

The Idaho Back To School Framework 2020 plan mainly gives decision-making authority to local school districts along with advice from local health districts, but also says the types of teaching will depend on the level of virus transmission in the local community.

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