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Pocatello-Chubbuck School District votes to reopen all schools for in-person learning


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POCATELLO — Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25 will reopen all of its schools for fully in-person learning starting March 1.

Trustees voted during a special board meeting Tuesday to scrap a hybrid instructional model for students in the district’s secondary schools. The decision allows the district’s middle school and high school students to rejoin its elementary students in attending school in-person five days a week, with heightened cleaning and safety protocols — including a mask requirement — in place.

“If (students) really want to be in school, then wear a mask — teachers too,” trustee Jackie Cranor said.

Tuesday’s decision comes as districts across Idaho revisit plans to allow students to return full-time. Boise School District trustees on Monday tabled a possible move from hybrid to full-time learning, following apprehensive input from some local health officials.

Trustees in the Idaho Falls and Bonneville school districts will make similar considerations Wednesday.

Debates over letting kids return full-time have grown fierce. Months of hybrid learning in Pocatello-Chubbuck fueled a recall effort against trustees Dave Mattson, Jackie Cranor and Janie Gebhardt. County officials in December certified petitions to have the board members recalled.

Tuesday’s decision followed nearly 187 emails from parents, students and staff regarding the prospect of letting students return in full. Ninety-seven of those emails called for a full return to face-to-face learning, administrators said. Seventy-three wrote in favor of continuing the current learning model.

Tuesday night’s decision also followed an update to the board that documented cases in the district are down to nine among staff and seven among students.

More than 800 Pocatello-Chubbuck staff members have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, administrators added.