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Jefferson School District announces back to school plan


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The following is a news release from Jefferson Joint School District 251.

Jefferson School District’s Plan is to resume in-school face-to-face instruction, on Wednesday, Sept. 2, unless otherwise directed by the State Board of Education or the local health department. For families who are not comfortable returning to school, Jefferson School District will offer an online option through Rigby Virtual Academy.

Planning for the Future

We cannot predict the course of the current worldwide pandemic. We are hoping that the spread will have slowed – or ended.

One of the lessons we have learned from this spring is that Jefferson School District 251 needs to be prepared for any scenario. In preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, school staff and district leaders have prepared three scenarios for returning. Additionally, there will be an option for families who choose not to send their students to school because of concerns about COVID-19.

To make each of these possible scenarios easy to remember and implement, they have each been assigned a color:

Green — Normal School Operations

Minimal or moderate community transmission (as defined by Eastern Idaho Public Health)

Jefferson School District plans to start the year with schools open and safety precautions in place, assuming conditions are the same as they are currently. Buses will run. School lunch services will be provided.

Yellow – Alternate Day Schedule

Moderate community transmission (as defined by Eastern Idaho Public Heath)

Jefferson School District developed this contingency plan as an option to avoid complete school closure. The plan’s implementation will be determined by guidance from Eastern Idaho Public Health and other Idaho governmental authorities that have jurisdiction over school operations. If physical distancing requirements become more stringent, schools may go to an alternating schedule. When not in school, students will continue their learning through Schoology.

Jefferson School District recognizes that this plan places an additional burden on families who will need to make accommodations for the days when their students are not in school. This scenario was developed to avoid a complete school closure in order to maintain regular contact between teachers and students.

Red – School Buildings Closed

Substantial community transmission (as defined by Eastern Idaho Public Health)

If there is a statewide or local order to close all schools or an individual school, learning will continue remotely. Students will interact with their peers and teachers through Schoology. Students will submit work and receive feedback. Assessments and grading will continue until schools can reopen.

Online School with the Rigby Virtual Academy

For the 2020-21 school year, Jefferson School District students will be able to enroll in Rigby Virtual Academy. This full online option is available for families and students who do not feel comfortable sending their students to school. Courses will be offered in grades K-12.

Program Highlights

  • Classes taught or facilitated by Jefferson School District teachers
  • Virtual meetings held regularly each week
  • On and off-line activities guided by a teacher
  • Optional family-focused enrichment activities
  • Technology support and access available
  • High School/ Middle School Extracurricular activities through the school zone you reside in

Safety Precautions

Safety procedures will be in place to reduce the chance of the spread of illness in all scenarios:

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Establish hand hygiene stations in school buildings
  • Mask/face shields optional for staff/students


  • Hand sanitizer and promotion of regular hand washing
  • Staff and students trained in physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette
  • Regular sanitation of desks and other hard surfaces and frequently touched parts of school buildings
  • Arrangement of desks to account for physical distancing
  • Limit the use of shared materials and spaces


  • Hand sanitizer available
  • Regular hot lunch menu will be available
  • Lunch times staggered to reduce occupants in the cafeteria
  • In addition to the cafeteria, alternative lunch locations will be available depending on the facility’s design
  • Offer options to eat outside

Office Strategies and Other Non-Instructional Spaces

  • Maintain six feet of distance when possible
  • Hand sanitizer available
  • Regular sanitation of surfaces
  • Identify an isolation/screening room in each school


  • Limit visitors to parents and essential visitors on campus
  • Educational information will be posted about reducing the risk of spread of contagions


  • Limit field trips, assemblies, and other large gatherings if physical distancing cannot be achieved
  • Implement strategies at each school that discourage gatherings in areas such as the bus lane, restrooms, recess, hallways, lunch, before and after school

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

Jefferson School District works with the Idaho High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) to develop plans for activities and athletics in fall of the 2020-2021 school year. As additional information is available about fall activities, the district will provide that information to parents and students.

Governmental Entities Guidelines

Jefferson School District follows the recommended guidelines of the State of Idaho, the State Board of Education and Eastern Idaho Public Health regarding opening school buildings safely. Guidelines developed by each entity are outlined in the following webpages.

State of Idaho – Stages for Reopening
State Board of Education – Re-entry Criteria
Eastern Idaho Public Health – Guidance for Schools