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Coeur d'Alene moves to all in-person classes, Post Falls plans for Oct. 12 return

Masks are still required on school property and buses in Coeur d'Alene, and students are expected to maintain physical distance as much as possible.

KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho — Students in the Coeur d'Alene School District began attending in-person classes five days a week on Monday and the Post Falls School District is following closely behind.  

Post Falls School District's Board of Trustees voted on Monday to move its current operating phase from "orange" to "yellow." Oct. 5. This means students will resume daily in-person learning on Oct. 12.

The board previously held off on moving to all in-person learning at a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 28.  

Face masks are required and students will be socially distanced when possible. In a letter to parents, however, the district says that "social distancing is not possible in most of our classrooms, so students will be expected to wear masks during class as long as the Panhandle Health District mask mandate remains in place."

Teachers will be giving students mask breaks throughout the day, according to the district.

This comes after Coeur d'Alene's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to switch from the orange (moderate) risk level, which calls for a hybrid model of virtual and in-person learning, to the yellow (minimal) risk level after reviewing data trends on COVID-19 cases in Kootenai County. 

When the district operates in yellow, all students —  except those enrolled in online school — will attend school in-person every day. This began on Monday, Oct. 5.  

RELATED: Coeur d'Alene will move to all in-person classes, Post Falls holds off for now

The decision about Coeur d'Alene schools comes as the board also voted to change its current risk level metrics to match Panhandle Health District's model, which includes low, minimal, moderate and substantial categories. If the health district changes its risk level, the school board would then discuss adopting the same change going forward. 

Kootenai County, and all other counties in North Idaho, are currently sitting in the minimal risk level for coronavirus, according to the Panhandle Health District.

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools had previously adopted its own risk categories of minimal, moderate, substantial and critical. 

Credit: Coeur d'Alene Public Schools
Risk categories outlined by Coeur d'Alene Public Schools

Masks are still required on school property and buses and students are expected to maintain physical distance as much as possible while the district is operating in the yellow level, according to operating plans approved by the board in August. 

Schools will also work to maximize the use of outdoor learning and large interior spaces.