#271 News & Notes

2020-21 School Year

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools — August 26, 2020

Comments are welcome on draft mask policy

The COVID-19 operating plans for this school year were approved on August 24 by our Board of Trustees. The plans detail the safety precautions we will take while in any of our risk categories (green, yellow, orange or red).

The plans call for students, staff and visitors to wear masks on school property while we are operating under the Orange (moderate risk) or Yellow (minimal risk) categories.

In support of our operating plans, the School Board is considering a new mask policy for the District. An earlier draft of the policy has been out for public review and comment, and today a revised version of the draft policy is available for public review and comment.

As currently drafted, the proposed mask policy addresses opportunities for safely taking mask breaks during the school day. The policy also addresses accommodations for individuals with certain medical conditions or disabilities.

You may read the revised draft policy HERE.

To provide the Board a comment on the draft policy, please send your comment to pwestberg@cdaschools.org. Comments are due no later than 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 30. Public comments will be forwarded to the trustees immediately after that deadline.

The Board of Trustees will discuss the proposed mask policy in a special board meeting on Monday, August 31, at 11:30 a.m. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom, and there will not be an additional comment period during the meeting. The meeting will be streamed live on our Facebook page. You also may watch using Zoom at this link. Passcode: 0CfvyW

Registration is closed for e-school

Registration is now closed for our new eSchool, an all-online option for enrolled students in elementary, middle or high school. The three-week registration window ended Monday morning, and now we are building our eSchool classrooms and schedules for approximately 1,300 students.

This week we have received many inquiries about extending the eSchool registration deadline. We did extend the original deadline of August 17 by one week. Now it's important that our eSchool administrators and teachers be able to focus on preparations for the Sept. 14 start of the school year.

We may have students withdraw from eSchool between now and the start of the school year, allowing us to fill those spots with other students who want in. Although we are not maintaining a waiting list for the eSchool, we anticipate having a process in place next week to allow families to apply for new openings, by grade level.

For updates, check our eSchool web page.

Open houses will be different this year

We love the open house nights we host at our schools at the end of summer! Families get to meet teachers and learn what's new. We get to greet you and welcome your students. Kids can explore buildings and classrooms, and catch up with friends. Each school's event is unique, and the whole experience is a great way to kick off the new year.

We wish it were 2019 again ... or 2021. But for 2020, as you might expect, our open houses will be modified to make sure we avoid creating crowded conditions inside our buildings. To accomplish this, our elementary and middle school open house events will be for students who are new to the school. This includes:

  • All Kindergarten students
  • All 6th grade students
  • All 9th grade students
  • Other students who were not at their school last year

Most of our elementary school open houses are scheduled for Thursday, September 10. Families of Kindergarteners and new students will receive details on those events from their school. For other students and their families, our teachers will be in touch with you between Sept. 8 and 11. This may include virtual greetings and welcome videos, and you will have opportunities to ask questions about the new year.

Middle school open houses are scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, in the afternoon/early evening. Families of sixth graders and new students will receive details on those events from their school. (For other students, the middle schools will notify families when class schedules are posted in Skyward Family Access.)

Coeur d'Alene High School and Lake City High School plan to host open houses for their freshmen and other students new to the schools on Wednesday, September 9.

For those who are attending an open house, please remember to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. Let's keep up the momentum of safety precautions and start the school year strong!

  • Follow social distancing protocols (6 feet) when faced with a line.

  • Check your temperature and make sure you and your children do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, we ask you not to attend and contact a health provider.

Students may bring their school supplies the first week of school

Students may bring their school supplies on the first day they attend school in person under our blended learning schedule.

This year students will be asked to refrain from sharing their school supplies with classmates.

Looking for those back-to-school student supplies lists? Our lists are available here. This now includes elementary school supplies for our eSchool classes.

Please remember to provide your student a fresh disposable mask or clean reusable mask each school day for in-person instruction.

Our plan for student use of chromebooks

Many students will need access to a Chromebook at home when we are in blended learning, and we are preparing to check out Chromebooks during the first week of school.

Students will receive their device in class the week of September 14 and will receive instructions for using the Chromebook as well as programs for class work.

For elementary students, the Chromebooks will remain at school for the first week (and possibly a little longer for younger students) before we send them home. Middle and high school students will be able to take their devices home immediately after checkout.

If students already have a dedicated, Internet-connected device with webcam and keyboard, families may opt out of checking out a device. However, this will give students a consistent device that can be serviced by District staff.

Student device checkouts are governed by policy 3275, as well as our student technology use agreement.

Our Chromebooks are high-quality devices that are three years old or less, typically with touchscreens.

Seeking new members for long range planning committee

We are looking for volunteers to join our Long Range Planning Committee, which meets monthly during the school year to review and plan for the district's facility needs, and report to the Board of Trustees.

The focus of the committee includes planning for new schools, school expansions and remodels, safety updates, maintenance issues, and more. The deadline to apply is September 4.

If you would like to be a part of this team, we invite you to learn more and apply HERE.

wednesday is the new late-start monday

On Monday, August 24, the Board of Trustees voted to change late-start Mondays to late-start Wednesdays this school year. The one-hour delay in school start time is for staff collaboration and professional development.

We have noted this change on our family school year calendar, which you can download HERE.

The change makes sense for the blended learning model, which will be in effect for the start of the school year, with students attending classes in person on Mondays and Tuesdays, or on Thursdays and Fridays. Moving the staff collaboration to Wednesdays gives students more time learning with teachers in classrooms.

When students return to in-person attendance five days a week, we will keep the collaboration hour on Wednesday mornings for this school year, to minimize disruptions to school schedules and family routines.

Schools are expected to use the collaboration time to focus on COVID-19 response priorities; developing teaching skills and dispositions for high-quality blended and online learning; and building awareness and understanding of our instructional framework, one component of our new strategic plan.

Four days remaining to request a change in blended learning schedule

The deadline to submit a petition to change your student's blended learning schedule (switching the 2 days of in-person instruction) is this Sunday, August 30.

When students begin school this fall in the blended learning model, they will attend classes in person two days a week. Students whose last name begins with A-K will attend Mondays and Tuesdays, and students whose last name begins with L-Z will attend Thursdays and Fridays.

This assigned schedule may present difficulties for some families. To support the needs of families with certain schedule conflicts, we have a process to petition for a change in schedule from the current assignment.

As our schools construct class assignments and student schedules for the blended learning model, they will take into consideration balanced class sizes to ensure safety protocols are met. Schools also will consider how best to serve each student with an Individualized Education Plan to provide access to specialists and resources.

Once our schools complete this work, they will consider petitions for schedule changes. Approval of petitions will be granted if schedules permit, according to the following order of priorities:

  1. Children in same household or residence who are assigned different in-person attendance days due to different last names

  2. Shared custody arrangement necessity

  3. Extenuating circumstances for work or child care options

  4. Further case-by-case petition to building principal and district administration

For priorities 2 and 3, families are asked to provide documentation of custody agreement, work schedule or child care arrangement to demonstrate the need for the schedule change.

Beginning Monday, August 31, schools will process petitions according to priority level. Families who submit a petition will be notified of the school's decision no later than Friday, September 4.

To submit a petition for a schedule change, please complete this form.

Screening students for symptoms each day before they come to school

An important part of our collective effort to keep schools open this fall is making sure anyone with COVID-19 symptoms stays home. We are asking all parents and guardians to take a few minutes each morning, before their students leave home to attend school in person, for a quick symptom screening:

How will students be screened for symptoms? Please check your child for symptoms each morning. Take their temperature and ask if they have a sore throat, new cough, diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain, or new onset of severe headache. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not currently recommend that schools conduct universal symptom screenings (screening of all students as they arrive to school). Parents or caregivers are encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day. Students who are sick should not attend school in-person.

What if my child becomes sick? If community spread is high, normal childhood illnesses may cause your child to be excluded from school for 10 days. If community spread is down, students will need to be symptom-free, without the use of medication, for 24 hours before returning to school.

What happens if someone at my student's school tests positive for coronavirus? Anyone known to have been in close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine for 14 days. Close contact is defined as any of the following, starting from 48 hours before the person who tests positive began feeling sick:

  • Being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes
  • Providing care to the person
  • Having direct physical contact (touch, hug, kiss)
  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils
  • Receiving sneeze, cough or other respiratory droplets from an infected person

Learn more here: Recommendations on school screenings

What to know about bus registration and bus routes

We have updated our school bus routes to reflect changes approved last March in some of our elementary and high school attendance zones. To see if you are located in an area served by buses, and find route and bus stop information, use our school zone/bus route locator tool.

Address search tip: If your address does not produce a search result, try variations on the format. Example: W instead of West.

Bus service for NExA, high school students: For select students affected by school zone changes, bus service will continue to be provided this year. This is applicable to:

  • Northwest Expedition Academy students who reside in the former school zone and will attend NExA at its new location this year.
  • Coeur d'Alene High and Lake City High students (Grades 10, 11 and 12 only) whose school zone changed but who will continue to attend their previous school under the School Board-approved grandfather provisions.

Bus registration open now: All students who plan to ride a school bus this year need to register, even if they rode last year. To register your student for the bus this school year, find our registration forms here.

Looking for Internet access? Several options now available

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools is working with several area Internet access providers to bring Internet and Wi-Fi to student homes.

Additionally, the District will have mobile hotspots available for checkout (must be in Sprint or Verizon service areas). Please complete this form if your family needs Internet access.

Several companies also offer reduced-cost or free Internet access to families in need: visit this document for more information.

As a last resort, all of our schools have Wi-Fi access available on the outside of the buildings. View this page for more information.