Teton School District 401 giving students three different enrollment options
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DRIGGS — Teton School District 401 has announced the changes to its school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Tuesday email to parents and staff, Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme announced the school board had approved a reopening plan during a Monday meeting.
“Please know that your child’s safety is of the utmost importance to us. Our plan includes important safety precautions, as recommended by the CDC, to protect them, your family, and our teachers,” Woolstenhulme said in the email. “We will need your cooperation and support to make this work and mitigate the risk of spreading germs.”
Teton County, where the school district is located, is one of six eastern Idaho counties under a mask mandate, with restrictions on public gatherings, as per the Eastern Idaho Public Health COVID-19 Regional Response Plan.
The mandates played a direct role in planning for the upcoming year.
The 2020-21 school year will start Aug. 31 for students in grades six through 12, and open houses will be held for kindergarten through fifth-grade students the same day. The first day of elementary classes will be Sept. 1.
The plan requires students and staff must wear a face-covering at school unless they are outdoors and able to maintain social distancing. If a child has a medical exemption, parents are asked to contact the child’s principal.
Along with masking up, temperature checks will happen daily as students board buses, upon arrival at school or in the first class of the day. Students with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be isolated until their parents can pick them up.
“We know that every family faces different pressures and circumstances; if you do not want your children to return to school full-time, please know we have options for you,” Woolstenhulme said in the letter.
Families can choose from three different enrollment options. Students can attend school in-person, students in grades six through 12 can enroll in a flexible short-term online option or any student can participate in Teton Online School.
Families who are choosing Teton Online School are asked to register their child(ren) before 10 a.m. on Aug. 24.
“As a parent, I understand how difficult this situation is, and encourage each of you to carefully examine your own circumstances as you decide which option works best for your family,” Woolstenhulme said in the letter.
In-person enrollment in school will depend on the risk level of the county as per the EIPH COVID-19 Regional Response Plan. At the moderate risk level, where Teton County currently sits, students who opt for in-person classes will attend five days a week.
If Teton County advances to the high-risk level, an alternating day schedule will go into effect that combines in-person and online learning. At the critical-risk level, schools will be closed and all learning will take place online.
“Our goal is to keep our children safe: Parents and families play an important role in this, as does our whole community,” Woolstenhulme explained in the letter. “Please follow the CDC guidelines of mask-wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, and most importantly, kids and adults who are sick should stay home.”
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