COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Staffing shortages due to COVID-19 have forced one Coeur d'Alene school online, while others will soon switch to a blended learning model.
Coeur d'Alene Public Schools decided on Wednesday to close Northwest Expedition Academy temporarily because of staffing issues from COVID-19 infections. The district also announced that middle schools in the district would be reverting back to blended learning amid coronavirus cases in the district.
In a release sent to families, the district said the change for middle schools would begin on November 30 and was caused in part by "current levels of staff and student absences," which the district said it believes will continue.
As of Wednesday, the district said it has 34 students and 28 employees in isolation with coronavirus, with another 524 students and 76 staff members in quarantine due to having close contact with a positive coronavirus case.
On Wednesday, Idaho's five northern counties hit 7,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic started.
Half of the district's middle school students will attend in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday, with the other half attending in-person Thursday and Friday. The district added that if staffing shortages increase, it may have to implement the blended learning model for individual middle school sooner than November 30.
Northwest Expedition School switched to full remote learning
The Coeur d’Alene School District decided on Wednesday to close Northwest Expedition Academy temporarily because of staffing issues from COVID-19 infections.
According to Coeur d’Alene School District Spokesperson Scott Maben, students are temporarily going to start doing fully remote learning Thursday and will continue through next week. He said the district hopes to have students back in class after Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30.
Maben said 25% of the staff is out right now due to coronavirus. Teachers are out for positive cases or are in quarantine due to exposure, Maben said.
“That’s a high percentage of staff to be gone,” Maben said. “We just can’t cover it with subs.”
About 40 students are out of school as well, Maben said. That is 10% of the school's 400 students.
Grab and go meals for students will be available Monday-Friday from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at three middle schools (Woodland, Canfield, and Lakes) while the building is closed.
District administration has moved the school to the red, or high, COVID-19 risk level.
The rest of the district is currently in the orange, or moderate, COVID-19 risk level.
High schools in Coeur d'Alene have been carrying out class using the blended model since the start of the school year.