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IF District 91 extends soft closure, announces ‘drive-in’ graduation ceremonies

Education

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The following is a letter from Idaho Falls School District 91 Superintendent George Boland.

The Board of Trustees made the difficult decision tonight to extend the soft school closure and continue remote learning through the end of the school year. While some COVID-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted, it is clear some form of social distancing will remain in effect, which will make it difficult, if not impossible, to operate schools in a traditional manner.

We recognize remote learning has its challenges, but we hope this decision will give our students, parents and staff some clarity about what to expect in the next few weeks. We appreciate the extraordinary work our teachers are doing to engage students, and also the incredible support we’ve received from parents during this difficult time.

In addition to extending the soft closure, the Board of Trustees approved plans for alternative graduation celebrations for the Class of 2020. High school administrators have spent the last few weeks developing plans for “drive-in” graduation ceremonies, which will be held at Idaho Falls’ Motor Vu Drive-In. The celebrations are scheduled for: May 25 for Emerson; May 26 for Compass Academy; May 27 for Skyline High School and May 28 for Idaho Falls High School. We are excited about the chance to celebrate our graduates in this unique way. If you have a senior, please watch for more details from your high school.

In other updates:

GRADING: While we are not providing traditional grades for third trimester work, the instruction teachers are providing is aligned to critical content and grade-level standards. Please encourage your child to participate in this course work so they don’t lose ground during the closure.
In grades K-8, students will receive feedback on their work.

In grades 9-12, students will receive a Pass/Incomplete based on their performance on an end-of-course assessment or ECA that will be given in May. Middle school students taking classes for high school credit will also take ECAs. Students must receive a Pass in order to earn the credit.

ECA SCHEDULE: ECAs will be administered the week of May 11. To earn a Pass, students must earn at least 70 percent on the ECA. If students fall short, they will have several opportunities to retake the test.

Teachers will review material with students and test them on the concepts they missed before the end of school on May 29.

Seniors must successfully complete ECAs and meet all graduation requirements by Friday, May 22, in order to participate in graduation ceremonies. Because of their early graduation date, Emerson students will have to meet their requirements by Thursday, May 21.

Students who do not successfully pass the ECA by the time school ends will have the chance to take online courses in June.

We are exploring other summer school options that may be available in July and/or August for students who are still trying to pass an ECA.

ATHLETIC ELIGIBILITY: Students who plan to participate in fall sports should remember third trimester grades are used to determine academic eligibility. Students must pass four classes and have no more than one incomplete grade this spring. Students must also make sure they are on track to graduate and earn any credits they need over the summer in order to maintain their eligibility. If you have any questions, please contact our athletic directors: Pat Lloyd at IFHS at lloypat@d91.k12.id.us or Gregg Bazcuk at SHS at bazcgreg@d91.k12.id.us.

We are committed to our ongoing support of families during this challenging time. We are now providing at least 1,500 Grab ‘N Go breakfasts and lunches every day. We are dropping off homework packets to students who have no way to pick them up at school. We’ve distributed thousands of Chromebooks to families and are working to help students connect to the Internet.

Every one of our D91 families has its own unique challenges, and I know our teachers, staff and principals are working on innovative ways to overcome these challenges. Please reach out to teachers, principals, counselors or administrators if you need any special assistance. We are all in this together, and we’re committed to getting through this together.

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