#271 News & Notes

2020-21 School Year

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools —November 20, 2020

Enjoy Thanksgiving week off

There is no school next week as we all take a break to be with our families over the Thanksgiving break. This is the first year we won't have elementary parent-teacher conferences a few days before Thanksgiving (those were moved to this week). Overall student attendance also had been low on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, and a year ago we decided to move to this new schedule, following what many other school districts already do. To make up the instructional hours, we have borrowed from other traditional days off elsewhere in the academic calendar. The Board of Trustees approved this year's calendar last year. You can find the 2020-21 school year calendar on our website by clicking HERE.

Schedules: What happens after the holiday

The Board of Trustees met on Thursday afternoon to review and discuss the current state of COVID-19 in the community as it pertains to District operations. The board made no changes to the current student attendance plan, which will be the following beginning November 30:

  • Coeur d'Alene High School and Lake City High School remain on the current blended learning schedule, with students attending in person two days a week and remotely the other three days.
  • Our three middle schools will switch to that blended learning schedule: students attend in person two days a week and remotely the other three days. Students will follow the same schedule they had in the first three weeks of the school year.
  • Our 11 elementary schools, plus Venture High School, will remain on the modified schedule: In-person attendance Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; remote learning on Wednesday.

When we decide to place a school at Risk Level 'RED'

This fall we temporarily closed three of our school buildings (Coeur d'Alene Early Learning Center, Northwest Expedition Academy, and Venture High School) when critical staffing shortages brought on by COVID cases and related quarantines made it untenable to keep the buildings open.

Moving a school to all-remote learning can happen with little notice if we are experiencing a high rate of absences among teachers or other school staff, a high number of student absences, high transmission of COVID-19 among students and staff, or other factors that make it difficult to keep a building open.

Our intent is to provide families as much advance notice as possible before closing a school building, and we are developing a system to provide an early warning when it's starting to look like an option we need to consider.

Students may qualify for extended absence

If at any time a parent or guardian is not comfortable sending their student to school due to heightened community spread of COVID-19, the District will honor requests for extended absences. District policy on school attendance provides for school approval of an extended absence. Extended absence requests will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Families should be aware of the learning conditions when children are on an extended absence. Because classroom teachers are meeting a variety of additional safety protocols and quarantine demands, in addition to classroom instruction, they are not able to offer children in extended absence a remote learning experience. Parents must be willing to take on the responsibility of being the primary learning coach at home for their students. Families who choose an extended absence for their children must commit to their ongoing academic success.

Another option, for the second semester of the year, is the District's fully online eSchool. Applications for the eSchool waitlist are not being accepted at this time, but will reopen in late January. Learn more HERE.

Let us know when your student tests positive for COVID-19

If your student receives a positive lab result for COVID-19, we ask that you notify us immediately. This information will remain confidential, and will assist our school nursing staff in determining if other students or adults may have been exposed. You may be contacted by a registered nurse from the School District.

Please notify the school office if you student has tested positive. If you are unable to reach the office, or it's after hours, on a weekend, or during a holiday break, please fill out and submit the form found HERE.

Even if the student was not present in school before they showed symptoms or began an isolation period at home, please let us know if they have tested positive so that our health and attendance records are complete.

If any member of the student's household tests positive for COVID-19, please call and let the school office know. Panhandle Health District is experiencing a surge of new cases and is not able to notify the school district of positive cases.

If you talk to a school nurse you can share information about all of your Coeur d'Alene School District household members in one call. You don't have to talk to each individual school about each student. The nurses can consolidate and collaborate to reduce the burden on the family.

Why have your student tested for COVID-19

There is value in having your student tested for COVID-19 if they are exposed to a person who has COVID-19. This should be a PCR test and should occur 6 to 8 days after the exposure.

First, if your child tests positive and we are notified, depending on symptom development they may be able to return to school quicker than the original 14-day quarantine period. If they test negative, they may be eligible for early return to school, provided they and the positive contact both were wearing masks at the point of exposure.

Second, if your child is exposed to COVID-19 again but previously tested positive, they will not be required to quarantine again for three months after the positive test result. (You will need to provide proof of the positive test result.)

Finally, knowing that your student is positive will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools by identifying close contacts.

COVID Testing Resources

Thanksgiving, Foodborne Illness & COVID

A message from our partners at Panhandle Health District:

Every year at Thanksgiving there are always a few unwanted guests that somehow make it onto the guest list. Like Uncle Phil and his wild conspiracy theories; your sister’s unemployed vegan boyfriend Chad who keeps pushing his tofu turkey recipe on everyone; and food poisoning!

But this year, there may be another uninvited guest that will ruin everyone’s holiday and put Grandma in the hospital: COVID-19. Luckily, you can avoid giving your guests the Rona and food poisoning by taking a few simple precautionary measures.

  • Cook that bird until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees. This will also ensure that any tracking bots are also destroyed.
  • Limit the number of guests, have everyone maintain distance, and wear masks when not eating. Guests can also bring their own food as an added precaution.

Let's make sure we can give thanks for our good health this Thanksgiving!

School Board monthly meeting is December 7

The regularly monthly meetings and select special meetings of our Board of Trustees are streamed live and archived on our YouTube channel. To watch, simply go to http://www.youtube.com/c/CdASchools271.

Screening for symptoms daily helps keep students in school

One of the most important strategies for controlling the spread of coronavirus in our schools is by doing a quick symptom screener every morning. Please stay home and call in sick if you have any of the symptoms of this virus. Stay home until you have gone 24 hours without symptoms. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the health department direction is to stay home for 14 days.

Please check each student every 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.

You can view or download a copy of the student screening handout by clicking here.