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Healthy Education and Learning Task Force Releases Draft Protocols for Opening Schools and ask the Community for Feedback

TWIN FALLS -- As the Twin Falls School District plans for the 2020-21 school year, The Healthy Education and Learning (HEAL) Task Force has been busy evaluating options and scenarios in order to ensure the district is as prepared as possible for the coming school year. The Task Force has received and appreciates all of the feedback and suggestions provided through surveys, emails, and phone calls to the Task Force members. The community has engaged with the district in a collaborative and supportive way with an understanding that there are challenging decisions that have to be made.

On July 13, the HEAL Task Force presented a draft COVID Operational Protocol plan to the School Board. This plan outlines different levels of operation that the district may have to utilize based on the level of COVID spread within our community. It also outlines how schools will deal with confirmed cases of COVID within our buildings, cleaning procedures, food service precautions, and ways that the District can mitigate situations where schools would need to close for an extended period of time. At this point, this plan is a draft and the Task Force hopes to fine-tune it further to best suit the needs of our community. In addition, workgroups at both the secondary and elementary levels are working on the details of how instruction will be delivered in the different levels of operation, what training and resources will be needed by staff members, and how to support students who are not able to physically attend school. 

In order to finalize the plan, the Task Force is asking the community to review the plan and provide feedback. The plan is posted on the TFSD website at http://www.tfsd.org/tfsd-operational-covid-protocol/  and community members can provide feedback through a form also found on that web page. It is important to understand that this plan has been designed in consultation with South Central Public Health District and representatives from all areas of the district, including parents. 

“While we all desire to return to school as normal, it is unlikely that we will be able to do so come August 19,” said Dr. Brady Dickinson, Superintendent of Schools, in an email to parents and staff members. 

The draft provides different levels of operations (Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red) which all provide safety precautions. 

“Ideally, we would like to operate in green as much as possible. With that being said, some might feel that the safety precautions in yellow seem pretty stringent. That is by design,” Dickinson said. “If we are seeing an increase in cases in our community, we would like to take additional precautions to keep our operations out of ‘Orange’ or ‘Red’ which would limit the amount of time students would physically be on campus.”

The Task Force appreciates the understanding and collaboration our community has already provided to our school system as we navigate these challenging times. 

“As you review the draft plan, please understand that we are trying to prepare for the many different scenarios that may occur in a way that supports student learning,” said Dickinson.

The Task Force will be collecting feedback on this draft until July 20 and will make changes based on feedback to be presented to the School Board with a hope of finalizing the plan by July 27. 

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