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Gov. Little announces school reopening committees

Education

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BOISE — Gov. Brad Little unveiled two committees Wednesday that will issue recommendations related to reopening school in the fall and challenges with remote learning.

But local school boards will decide whether to reopen schools, State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield said.

Little announced the Public School Reopening Committee and the Digital Divide Committee in a Wednesday morning news release.

The committees will get to work next week, with officials hoping to issue guidance by June 30.

Critchfield will serve as a chair of the reopening committee. She said the committee will focus on issuing informational guidance and supporting district decisions, as opposed to issuing exhaustive checklists or binding recommendations.

Critchfield also emphasized that local school boards will be entrusted with developing reopening plans.

In that regard, reopening in the fall will be a departure from the state’s response in the spring. Now, districts will not need to get state approval, complete a checklist or receive local health district approval to move forward with their reopening plans, Critchfield told Idaho Education News.

“We’re allowing school districts to make the decisions that they need to make,” Critchfield said. “Ultimately, the word trustee could not mean more than it ever has, right now, in my mind. They are a trustee of how a school district functions, elected by local patrons, influenced by the expectations and resources of a local community.”

The other committee, addressing issues with remote learning, will be led by State Board member Kurt Liebich.

The committees include a mix of State Board members, legislators, school administrators, representatives from Little’s office and Central District Health program manager Gina Pannell.

Check back with Idaho Education News later Wednesday afternoon for more information on this developing story.

Originally posted on IdahoEdNews.org on June 17, 2020

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