#KSD Ready & Resilient

Update from Kuna Superintendent Wendy Johnson


In this update:
  • Listening to your feedback & talking with the board about next steps for November, December
  • Putting the final touches on Swan Falls High School
  • Reminder high school schedule is different next week
  • No surprise: Holidays, observances will look different in our schools
  • Girls soccer team NOT exposed to virus

  • COVID Cases Update

Listening to your feedback & talking with the board about next steps for November, December

I suspect, moms and dads will see some tuckered out kids this weekend as we wrap up our first week of full-time every day learning for our youngest students. Please send your K-2 teachers an extra thank you for going above and beyond this week.

We're able to "proceed carefully" bringing students back for more learning at school because we're working with the health department and following strategies to reduce the spread of the virus among students.

Grouping students into "pods"

I'm sharing some photos from this week's return to full time learning to illustrate one of the new strategies we've deployed at the recommendation of the Central District Health Department. CDH calls these small groups of children "pods." We're calling them "families."

Students can be in closer physical contact with their "family" members while each family group maintains the 6 feet of physical distancing from other groups. And, we avoid bringing large groups of students together in close proximity.

"Families" as well as face coverings, hand washing, and other measures are how we are able to bring back students full time.

Staying open as virus levels change

The CDH is concerned about rising levels of COVID positive cases in our county and we could see the alert level move from yellow to red.

As we drill down into the data with health officials, this is what we see in Kuna:

  • Case counts are low in K-12 schools and schools have not contributed to community spread (most schools in Ada County enforce face covering mandates)
  • The majority of cases are in the age group of 18-23 and are taking place at BSU
  • Kuna case counts continue to be in category 2 (yellow)

Health officials want schools to stay open and serve children in our schools as long as we can. They crafted guidelines to support schools in operating in the red zone and worked with us to adapt.

CDH Russ Duke has praised schools for their exceptional job managing this whole challenge: " ... Our schools have all done an exceptional job managing exposures for in person learning. Virtual learning can be a significant challenge for many families for a variety of reasons, and we want to support in person learning for as long as practical.”

As we've reviewed guidelines, we were relieved to see much of what we are doing is in these guidelines: "pods," "face coverings," physical distancing, etc.

What's next?

I'll be updating the Board of Trustees Tuesday on our plans. You may remember, last month, we shared our plan to bring back our elementary students full time in two phases. This week, we started with K-2 students returning to in-person learning at all elementary schools and included grade 3 at Hubbard and Indian Creek. Grade 3-5 students would come back full time starting Oct. 19.

What about middle and high schools students?

If you've heard a rumor that they're starting full time Oct. 30, this will not be the case.

"Pods" work well in an elementary setting where students are with a single teacher most of the day. Secondary is different.

Our principals are exploring options about how to increase in person learning time for all students.

Based on the feedback from the survey, switching to a half day every day schedule wasn't a viable option. Administrators are exploring using Fridays for in person learning days and how that might would work in the Blue Gold schedule.

We also exploring how to bring back students who need more time in core areas - English, math and science -- to be successful.

As we transition to winter indoor sports and activities, we will need adapt to ensure our student can play.

The school board will be reviewing all of the information in the next meeting on October 13. We'll have more information soon.

You're welcome to listen to the live stream discussion with the Board of Trustees next week or look for more information in our updates.

Thank you again for providing feedback and for your amazing patience as we all negotiate this unusual time together.

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Putting the final touches on Swan Falls High School

Crews are working through the final "to do" lists of items and teachers are moving into classrooms this month as we prepare to open Swan Falls High School to serve students Nov. 2.

In normal times, we'd host an open house and invite everyone to come and tour the school, but we need to do something different as we all work to prevent the spread of COVID. We'll host a small ribbon cutting ceremony to thank our community partners. We'll also have a video virtual tour for our community.

Our plan for Swan Falls is for it to grow into a comprehensive stand-alone high school to serve our growing community. We're building it in phases. In this first phase, Swan Falls serves as a satellite site for Kuna and Initial Point and allows us to expand our career and technical opportunities for our students.

Reminder high school schedule is different next week

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Wednesday Oct. 14 is a SAT and PSAT test day for the high schools which means the week will look different for in person learning days! Friday will be a Blue Day. Please check with the high schools for information on what Wednesday looks like for your student!

No surprise: Holidays, observances will look different in our schools

To help prevent the spread of COVID in our schools and community, we are controlling the number of people gathering at our schools. We've changed up open houses, parent teacher conferences, sporting events, & more.

As we approach the holiday season, we'll see our traditional events changing during this untraditional time. This includes Homecoming, Halloween, Veterans' Day, concerts, plays & more.

Like graduation last spring, our schools and teachers are exploring different ways to allow parents and the community to connect to special celebrations while avoiding large groups.

We miss these activities and celebrations -- and opportunities to show off the hard work of our students. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

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Girls soccer team NOT exposed to virus

You may have heard that CDH required that we quarantine the varsity girls soccer team because of a potential exposure. Great news! The team's season isn’t over.

An error occurred in the reporting of a COVID test result for one of our student athletes. The result was reported as positive when it was actually negative. The reporting error, between the testing lab and medical provider, was identified by CDH staff who notified the Kuna School District this afternoon.

The corrected test result means members of the Girls Varsity Soccer Team were not exposed to the virus and do not have to quarantine and can play.

Their match with Skyview High School, originally planned for this evening, was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Centennial High School.

“During this unusual time, we appreciate the flexibility of our opponent and the Southern Idaho Conference to shuffle plans to allow our team to continue to compete,” Tracy Donaldson, Kuna School District activities director said.

COVID-19 update

This week, we are reporting three confirmed case of COVID-19 in students. None of the positive cases were traced to the school as the source.
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Superintendent Wendy Johnson

I am a superintendent of an amazing school district in Kuna, Idaho. I love serving children, teachers and families and having an impact on the future. #ksdready&resilient #ksdempower #futureready