COVID-19 ALERT – This message is to make our public aware that yesterday afternoon/evening we received our first notice that we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our district and with one of our district staff members. We instituted our safety protocols, as well as set up an immediate “deep cleaning” of our buildings in order to disinfect and cleanse areas throughout the school district. Staff, parents, and administrators that were in contact with the affected staff member this past week were contacted and made aware of the situation and asked to see their physician if they are experiencing any COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. Several staff who were exposed will be self-isolating themselves this week, including Principal Richards and myself. Both schools are closed to the public and staff at this time – only custodial crews will be present in buildings. This will be until Tuesday, August 4th. Normal operations should resume at both the Elementary and the Junior-Senior High School on Wednesday, August 5th.
I will provide further updates as information becomes available. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at the District Office or via email.
Thank you for your understanding and support during these unique and ever-changing times!
Jeff Cirka, Superintendent
Potlatch School District #285
Phone #: (208) 875-0327
In the past two months, we have been working feverishly on reentry plans for our students and staff in order to resume school for the 2020-2021 school year. We knew full well from the “soft closure” in the spring that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the face of Education was going to change dramatically. From the get-go, our number one priority has been the safety and well-being of our students and staff. The second highest priority has been getting our students back into the classrooms in the most traditional way, even though that might be an impossibility, due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in our region and neighboring regions.
Through data received from surveys completed by our parents and staff and from healthy discussion and debate from select parents, staff, and administration, given the task to look at how are reentry process might come together, we have the initial pieces of plans in place for the reentry into our schools this coming Fall.
The Board of Trustees at a Special Board Meeting on Thursday night approved recommendations made by myself, as well as members of the Reentry Committee and the public in attendance. The recommendations that were approved by the Board were:
1. The start of the opening of the school year for students originally scheduled for Monday, August 24th, will be moved to Tuesday, September 8th (the day after Labor Day). The purpose of the entry date change is to provide additional time for teachers and staff in all departments to prepare for changes that will go into effect for this school year, in order to have students at school and still meet the Governor’s and CDC’s guidelines for safe schools, social distancing, and other COVID-19 protocols.
2. Because of the size of our student population and class sizes being too large to provide proper social distancing in classroom, as well as in the schools in general, the District will provide an educational service delivery model that will incorporate students attending school (hopefully)two days a week for face-to-face instruction, as well as receiving on-line instruction on the days they are not attending school . This is called a “hybrid” educational program.
Still in discussion - the use of masks for protection purposes and who should wear them. Should this be mandated or just recommended? If mandated, how do we enforce the rule? What are the repercussions if a child or an adult do not wear one? These questions will be answered and voted on the Board in the weeks to come.
In the next few weeks, I will be placing our various protocols that we have developed for the upcoming school year up for your review on our website and on Facebook. This will include protocols for:
v School Safety Protocols
v Bus Transportation
v Food Service
v Athletics/Extra-Curricular Programming
v Special Education Programming
There will be numerous changes this year that will be implemented that many folks/parents might not like. I hope that is not the case but I believe it is inevitable. We won’t be able to please everyone. However, please understand that we are trying hard to make this process as rewarding and successful as we can for our students, as well as being cognizant that the “landscape” in our district, our region, our state, and the nation, could change quickly. Should that happen, we believe we will be prepared to continue providing educational opportunities for our students as seamlessly as possible.
Thank you for your support!