Caldwell School District Update

From Superintendent N. Shalene French

November 20, 2020

Caldwell School District Update Nov. 20, 2020

Returning to remote learning after Thanksgiving break

En español

Caldwell families


Our School Board met Wednesday to finalize our plans for learning when Thanksgiving vacation ends. We will follow our plan and shift to remote learning starting Monday, Nov. 30.


Why are we shifting to remote?


The short answer is: this was our plan and we’re sticking to it as we struggle to keep the doors open to in person learning during this time of extensive community spread of the virus.


The trustees and I had a long discussion about the virus raging unchecked in our community and the impact on our ability to operate.


Our biggest challenge is staffing -- as individuals become ill and isolate or are exposed to others and need to quarantine -- we struggle to find substitutes to supervise in person learning.


But it is not just teachers -- COVID is impacting our support services -- custodial, technology, and nutrition departments.


Student attendance is down at all levels. We’ve needed to quarantine classrooms of students and close schools.


We know that everyone - students, families, and staff need a routine and structure for their lives and to support learning.


Going remote will provide stability for our learners and staff so we can continue to pursue our mission: “to empower the whole child to achieve personal goals and strengthen our community”


What to expect after vacation?


Learning -- As they did this fall, your children’s schools and teachers will be sending more information about schedules and accessing learning. A limited number of students will receive services at school.


Meals -- We had planned no meals during the Thanksgiving break. Nov. 30, free meals will be provided for pick at our schools. We also plan to start delivery of meals to neighborhoods. This won’t be available immediately.


Technology - Our schools will continue to provide Wifi access areas in our school parking lots and will provide technical support.


When will all students return for in person learning?


This depends on our community.


We met with health officials this week. The virus levels continue to climb at alarming rates. Gatherings for the upcoming holiday are expected to fuel the spread even more.


Our district recently joined all area superintendents in pleading with our community to reduce the spread of the virus.


We encourage you to celebrate wisely, follow the advice of health and medical professionals and help restore our community to full health.


We cannot emphasize enough the importance of following the CDC guidelines, wear your mask, physical distance, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Please stay home if you are sick.


It will take all of our community to lessen the spread of COVID-19. We must safeguard our family, children, educators, all of us. All Means All.


Dr. Shalene French, Superintendent and Marisela Pesina, Board Chair

Please help reduce the spread of COVID

November 13, 2020


Dear Parents and Community Members,


Schools have worked tirelessly to make sure our students and staff are as safe as possible throughout the pandemic. Mask requests/requirements, bus and class schedule modifications, and disinfecting protocols have helped prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in schools. Our efforts have been effective, and schools are being allowed to continue as long as these safety protocols are in place.


Contact tracing has shown that few cases have transmitted within schools, and the majority of cases come from outside contact and events. While we are complying with all requirements, the recent spikes and daily community counts are threatening our ability to keep schools open. As school districts in the Southern Idaho Conference (SIC), we are asking that you please help us slow the spread by following local guidelines.


When we opened schools in late August/early September, the weekly positive COVID-19 cases in the counties where the SIC schools are located (Ada, Canyon and Gem) were approximately 800 cases. Alarmingly, in the most recent weekly positive COVID-19 case count exceeded 3,000.


We know what will help to combat this dangerous virus - wearing a mask, safe distancing, washing your hands, avoiding social gatherings and large crowds, and when in quarantine, do not go out. These are the most effective tools we have right now to fight this virus, keep our hospitals operating, and protect our students, faculty, staff and community. Using these tools effectively and consistently is the only way we can keep our schools and businesses open, and workers employed.


We desperately need your help to ensure students can continue in-person learning at school. Data about the spread of the virus in our schools shows our efforts make a difference and have greatly reduced the risk of infections in schools. High community spread and contact tracing most often leads back to someone outside of the schools. That causes significant problems with school operations - too many teachers and staff are out sick or in quarantine and the ones left at school are overloaded.


We are not properly staffed for effective education of your children. We also are seeing an increasing number of our students testing positive, which requires they stay home for a period of time along with any of their close contacts.


We need everyone in our community to follow our lead and embrace the simple steps -- wearing a mask, socially distance and washing your hands -- to reduce the spread of the virus, and allow us to keep schools open and operational for in person learning.

As you gather with your loved ones this holiday season, please do so safely and follow the guidelines from Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of the virus.


Please, if nothing else, do these things for the people you love most – your wife or husband, your aunt or uncle, your parents and grandparents, and especially your children. We ask you to join us in doing all that you can to help protect both our school community and the greater community.


Respectfully,


Wendy Johnson, Kuna School District, SIC President

Shalene French, Caldwell School District, SIC Vice President

Paula Kellerer, Nampa School DIstrict, SIC Secretary

James Gilbert, Mountain Home School District, SIC Treasurer

Coby Dennis, Boise School DIstrict

MaryAnn Ranells, West Ada School District

Sarah Quilici/Rich Raimondi, Idaho Catholic Schools/Bishop Kelly HS

Pat Charlton, Vallivue School District

Craig Woods, Emmett School DIstrict

Kristin Beck, Middleton School DIstrict

Russ Duke, Central District Health

Nikki Zogg, Southwest District Health

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Thanksgiving and COVID-19

Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are important and fun, but they can increase the likelihood of catching or spreading COVID-19. The safest way to celebrate is with the people who live in your home. If you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with people you don't live with, take steps to make the celebration as safe as possible. More information.

Tracking positive COVID cases in our schools

We also are reporting positive COVID cases each week and posting them on our website: https://www.caldwellschools.org/apps/news/article/1320298

Superintendent N. Shalene French

Committed to Caldwell School District's mission, vision, and values to ensure equity and access for all students.