At a special meeting August 17, 2020, the Teton School District 401 Board of Trustees approved the Reopening Plan presented by the district’s administrative team. Under the plan, all staff and students will be required to wear masks, from boarding buses to delivery at home, to help mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

The 15-page plan contains much more detail than earlier draft versions, in response to the board’s delay of a decision at last week’s regular August meeting. Eastern Idaho Public Health and CDC guidelines form the backbone for all protocols; the plan includes a revised calendar to give teachers extra planning days to determine building-specific logistics.

Highlights of the plan:

  • School will start on Monday August 31, with classes in grades 6-12 and Open Houses at all four elementary schools for grades K-5. Elementary classes begin September 1.
  • All students and school personnel will be required to wear a mask unless they are outdoors and able to maintain social distancing outside.
  • Temperature checks will happen daily, as students board buses, upon arrival at school or in the first class of the day.
  • Students who have a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be isolated until their parents can pick them up.

In order to provide parents with options that fit their comfort level regarding community transmission, the plan encompasses three enrollment options, one which brings students back into TSD buildings, a flexible short-term online option, and Teton Online School.

The plan outlines safety expectations for students and staff and other in-person protocols – for prevention, distancing, sanitation, transportation, child nutrition and when a COVID-19 test is positive.

For families who choose in-person enrollment, Teton County is currently at the moderate risk (yellow) level, as determined by Eastern Idaho Public Health. If Teton County maintains this level, classes will take place five days a week. Although a traditional model, all protocols will be followed to help reduce the risk of community transmission.

If conditions change, and Teton County moves to the high risk (orange) level, TSD will move to a hybrid model which combines both in-person and remote learning. Students would attend school in person two days a week, determined by where their last name falls in the alphabet, with half attending on alternate days so fewer people would be in the buildings at any given time. Teachers would monitor online efforts on other days. If Teton County moves to the critical risk (red) level, schools will be closed and home based learning will occur.

Parents who prefer their children to stay at home can choose Teton Online School (all grades) or virtual learning (Grades 6-12). Contact your principal if you have questions. If you intend to utilize Teton Online School, please enroll before 10 am on Monday, August 24 so that teachers can be assigned.

To help reduce community spread, families and all members of the public are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines regarding wearing face masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, and most importantly, staying home if you are sick.

Teachers start back to school on Wednesday, August 19. They will play an important role in building-specific logistics, like staggering lunch times, classroom setups, teaching outdoors, and other creative ways to help mitigate the risk for coronavirus spread.