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Idaho education board extends 'soft closure' for remainder of school year

An updated list of schools and universities that have canceled class due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BOISE, Idaho — As the new coronavirus, COVID-19, continues its worldwide spread, event organizers throughout the U.S., and here in Idaho, are canceling or postponing big events in an effort to help curb the person-to-person transmission of the virus.

In Idaho, school districts and universities are reconsidering regular plans, and either canceling or postponing events and classes in which many people are brought together in one place. 

On March 23, the Idaho State Board of Education announced a "soft closure," directing all school districts to close down until April 20. On Monday, April 6, the board voted to extend the soft closure through the end of the school year. However, the board also left the door open for local school boards to potentially reopen their schools under criteria that are currently being developed.

"We have areas of our state where COVID-19 cases have not occurred and we need to be flexible and provide guidance to our local districts and charters to make the best decisions for their areas," State Board President Debbie Critchfield said in a news release.  "We will work on the criteria this week in consultation with public health officials and school leaders and take a formal vote at our special Board meeting next week."

RELATED: Viewpoint: State Board of Education president discusses the massive impact of the coronavirus on Idaho public schools

School districts in Idaho are providing resources for children and families while the schools are closed.

See the latest Idaho coronavirus news in our live blog.

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Below are announcements from universities and school districts regarding closures. (Note: some of these announcements were made prior to the statewide soft closure announcement.)

Schools and universities

The Ambrose School - School will be temporarily closed, starting on Monday, March 16 through March 27. All activities and athletics are canceled.

Basin School District in Idaho City - All schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 until Monday, March 30.

Bishop Kelly High School - School is canceled on Monday, March 16. More details will be released sometime Sunday night. The school is planning what to do in the event of extended closures after Spring Break.

Bliss School District The Bliss School District will be closed from Tuesday, March 17 through March 27.

Boise School District - First phase of online learning begins Monday  

Teachers and staff have created learning resources to ensure at-home learning continues during our school closure. Beginning on Monday, March 30, 2020, the Boise School District will launch phase one of their Learning & Essential Services website. Information will also be available for families on how to pick up resources if they do not have internet access.

The website will include grade-level materials designed to help students maintain and develop their skills in core subjects. In mid-April, the district will provide additional, more content-specific learning services for students online by offering specific content-based and grade level online curriculum for each student, with alternative paper materials for students who do not have online access.

Parents will receive information on how to access the new website around noon on Monday, March 30, 2020. The district will also provide paper materials at their Grab-and-Go Meal sites and bus route deliveries.

All Boise schools are currently closed.  All sports and activities are suspended until further notice. Just for Kids, the district's childcare provider is also closed. 

The district will now offer free childcare at four sites across the city, starting on Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 27. Each site is limited to 24 children. Parents will need to provide documentation on their job schedules after the first three days of attendance. The form can be found here.

The sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Lunch and snacks will be provided by food service staff with the district.

  • Grace Jordan Elementary School - Just for Kids (JFK), 6411 Fairfield Ave, Boise, ID 83709
  • Whitney Elementary School - Just for Kids (JFK), 1609 S Owyhee St, Boise, ID 83705
  • Whittier Elementary School, Boise Parks & Recreation Community Center,
    301 N 29th St., Boise, ID 83702
  • Morley Nelson Elementary - Boise Parks & Recreation Community Center, 7701 W Northview St, Boise, ID 83704
  • Whittier Elementary School - Boise Parks & Recreation Community Center, 1609 S Owyhee St, Boise, ID 83705

The Boise School District announced on Monday, March 23, it will close all playground equipment until further notice to combat the spread of coronavirus.

RELATED: Here's the real reason the coronavirus canceled your event

Boise State University - All classes will be online for the remainder of the spring semester, starting on Monday, March 16. The university will also cancel all events that cannot include proper social distancing. School officials asked all students to vacate campus housing by March 27. The spring commencement ceremony, originally planned for May 9, has been postponed until December.

Caldwell School District - The school district will close down starting on Tuesday, March 17.

Caldwell Adventist Elementary School - The school will be closed from March 18 through March 29, with Monday and Tuesday being optional for students. Kindergarten through eighth grade will be moved to online classes for March 18 to 20.

Camas County School District - The school district will be shut down from Tuesday, March 17 through April 13. 

Cassia School District -  All county schools will be closed from Tuesday, March 17 through March 29. On Monday, March 16, students and staff will get ready for the extended closure by getting learning materials and access to digital classwork, according to officials. "School administrators and officials will work with families to address learning and food needs," the board of trustees said.

Cambridge School District -- Schools will be closed through April 6.

Challenger School - All Challenger campuses in Boise and Meridian are closed starting Tuesday, March 17 through until further notice.

Cole Valley Christian Schools - Schools will be closed until March 30.

College of Idaho - All classes canceled Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17. Classes resume Wednesday, March 18, in an online-only format for the rest of the semester.

College of Western Idaho - Spring Break will be extended from Monday, March 16 to Saturday, April 4. School officials urge students to be extremely cautious if they do decide to travel.

Compass Public Charter School in Meridian - Schools will close starting on Tuesday, March 17 until the end of Spring Break on April 3.

Concordia University School of Law in Boise - All classes will now be online, starting March 17. Interim Dean Latonia Haney Keith said that having classes online is in the best interests of students, teachers, staff, and the overall public.

Emmett School District - School canceled starting Tuesday, March 17. Grab-n-Go breakfast and lunch bags will be offered at Emmette Middle School starting Thursday, March 19, through Friday, March 27. The meals will be offered curbside between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. only to children who are present.

Gem Prep Academy - Both the Meridian and Nampa schools closed Tuesday, March 17 through March 29.

Greenleaf Friends Academy - Closed starting Wednesday, March 18. School will resume March 30.

Hugs Child Development Center - School is canceled from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20.

Idaho Arts Charter School - Closed until Monday, March 30.

Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine - Face-to-face instruction canceled, classes moving online starting March 16.

Idaho State University has canceled classes and closed community-facing clinics at its Meridian campus on Friday, March 13 to clean the facility.

Jerome School District - All schools will be closed starting on Tuesday, March 17.

Both the Kimberly School District and the Buhl School District will close on Monday, March 16 in order to give staff and teachers time to plan for any extended closures that may happen due to coronavirus. Both school districts will have class on Tuesday, March 17. The Kimberly School District wants to hear parents about what they may need in case of a closure. Click here for the survey in English and here for it in Spanish.

Kuna School District - All schools will be closed starting on Tuesday, March 17.

Liberty, Legacy, and Victory Charter Schools - All three charter schools are closing starting on Tuesday, March 17 until Monday, April 13.

Marsing School District - All Marsing schools will be closed from Tuesday, March 17 through March 27. School officials will evaluate at the end of that period and decide whether to extend the closure. 

McCall-Donnelly School District - All schools will close down starting on Tuesday, March 17 until the third of April.

Meadows Valley School District in New Meadows - Closed March 18 through April 3rd. Assessment will be made on April 2nd to determine whether to hold class the week of April 6.

Melba School District - All schools will be closed starting on Wednesday, March 18.

Middleton School District - All schools are closed from Monday, March 16 until March 29. Grab and Go food service is offered to families between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Middleton Middle School Annex A at the front entrance weekdays through Friday, March 27.

Mountain Home School District - School is canceled completely until March 30. Parents and students can come to get their belongings on March 17 and 18, including Chromebooks.

Nampa Christian Schools - Superintendent Dr. Greg Wiles announced on April 29 that they will open the school for modified daily classroom instruction starting on Monday, May 4th. Grades PreK-12 will be taking every Friday off for a teacher in-service to help give instructional staff more time to catch up on lesson planning and grading. 

They are currently working to finalize the specific details of school operation, including the instructional day, student expectations, and new procedures and protocols for a FACE to FACE return, which will include health and safety for staff and students alike.

Nampa School District - All schools will be closed starting on Tuesday, March 17.

North Star Charter School - Closed from March 16 to March 27.

Northwest Nazarene University - Announced Wednesday that its transition to remote learning will be extended through the end of the spring semester. Additionally, all university faculty and staff who are able will begin working remotely Monday, March 23. Only those employees critical to maintaining the infrastructure of university operations will continue to work on campus.

NNU is also suspending all university-sponsored travel unless approved by a vice president.

Notus School District - All schools are closed starting Wednesday, March 18 through April 6.

Parma School District - Superintendent Jim Norton says all schools will close on Wednesday, March 18 and reopen on Monday, March 30.

Payette School District - closed starting Wednesday, March 18, reopening March 31.

Puentes Spanish Preschool - The school will be closed from March 16 to March 27 due to coronavirus concerns.

Sage International School of Boise - The school will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27.

Salmon River Joint School District - Closed Wednesday through March 30

Twin Falls School District - Students were set to return to school on Wednesday, March 18, but district officials announced that all schools will be closed this week. Until the end of Spring Break on March 30, all schools, sports, preschool, childcare, etc will be closed. Staff members are asked to continue coming to work and get ready for any extended closures. "This is an unprecedented situation, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we respond to this dynamic situation and work to support our students, families, and staff throughout the closure," the district said in a statement.

The University of Idaho - Courses will all be online, starting March 23, 2020 through the rest of the spring semester. Spring Commencement is canceled. 

Vallivue School District - All schools will be closed starting on Tuesday, March 17.

Vision Charter School - The school will be closed from Monday, March 16 through March 30. All activities and athletics are canceled.

Richard McKenna Montessori and High School - The charter schools will be closed Monday, March 16 through March 20. All classes will be online for that week. Spring Break will continue as planned from March 23 to the 27.

Rolling Hills Charter School - All classes will be closed until Monday, March 30.

Weiser School District - School closed starting Wednesday, March 18. Current plan is to have students return April 1.

Wendell School District - The county's elementary, middle and high schools will be closed starting on Monday, March 16 until March 29. Officials told KTVB that about 1,000 students will be affected by the closures.

West Ada School District - The school district reversed its previous decision and will now close all schools starting Monday, March 16 and will open on Friday, April 3. West Ada School District officials told parents that closures after that date will depend on the spread of the virus.

The West Ada COVID-19 task force will meet and figure out if schools will be closed after spring break.

Update: The West Ada School District announced on Tuesday afternoon that the district cannot do online classes for students because the district doesn't have the capacity for every student to do online classes.

Westland Preschool and Kindergarten/Kids are Special People - The schools will be closed from Monday, March 17 until March 29.

Sunday afternoon, Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced he is leaving the decision to close schools up to each Idaho school district. 

On Sunday morning, The Idaho Education Association (IEA), an advocacy group for educators in Idaho, called on the Idaho Department of Education to close all schools in Idaho to address the novel coronavirus situation.

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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