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News >  Idaho

After most districts closed, Idaho board of education shutters the rest

UPDATED: Mon., March 23, 2020

Coeur d’Alene High School in 2018. The Idaho State Board of Education on Monday ordered all public schools in the state to close until at least April 20 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the time the board made the decision, the Coeur d’Alene Public Schools and all other districts in North Idaho already had opted to close as a result of the outbreak. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Coeur d’Alene High School in 2018. The Idaho State Board of Education on Monday ordered all public schools in the state to close until at least April 20 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the time the board made the decision, the Coeur d’Alene Public Schools and all other districts in North Idaho already had opted to close as a result of the outbreak. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The Idaho State Board of Education on Monday ordered all public schools in the state closed until at least April 20.

Described as a “soft closure,” the decision allows schools to continue providing food services and child care. They also can research and build plans for online learning.

The decision had been left to local school districts. But Idaho Ed News reported 95% of the state’s schools – including all of those in North Idaho – already had closed as of Thursday.

The directive was made a week after Gov. Brad Little stopped short of ordering a statewide school closure, leaving that decision to local districts.

The soft closure is meant to offer general guidance to district administrators, who still could take more stringent options.

“We don’t have all the answers,” said State Board President Debbie Critchfield, during a special board meeting Monday afternoon. “And in many cases, we don’t have all the questions yet.”

“I think that this will be helpful and hopefully alleviate – some, not all – but a sliver of the pressure and the stress that our local districts are dealing with,” Critchfield said.

The order applies to classes on school campuses. It does not apply to any district’s plans for online education.

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