School board votes to extend soft closure for all Idaho K-12 schools


Connor Bird

CP advisor William Love joins staffers Connor Bird, Joe Parsley, and Molly Balison to discuss the soft closure extension.

On April 6th, the Idaho State Board of Education unanimously voted to extend the soft closure for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But due to how scattered the cases are around Idaho, there’s still a possibility some schools return to an in-class setting later this school year.

“We have areas of our state where COVID-19 cases have not occurred and we need to be flexible and provide guidance to our local districts and charters to make the best decisions for their areas,” State Board President Debbie Critchfield said in a statement. 

In order for schools to return to in-class teaching, the school districts or charter schools must meet certain criteria which will be developed on April 13th during another special board meeting.

For the time being, all Idaho students will continue distance learning until further notice.

One honor student at Sandpoint High shared their thoughts on distance learning so far.

“It’s actually been alright because it is mostly just review for the AP test and using [the] College Board website, so I mean the only difference is [it is online],” said senior Nate Couch. 

But Couch has faced one main problem since school went online: socialization.

“The lack of social interaction is killing me,” expressed Couch.

Distance learning, as well as social distancing, isn’t going to end soon. Confirmed COVID-19 cases keep increasing, as seen on both the Panhandle Health District and Idaho Coronavirus websites, which may cause Idaho Governor Brad Little to extend the social distancing order before it ends on April 15th.