Kids in Teton Valley, Idaho, will join their counterparts in Jackson Hole with an extended stay at home due to the coronavirus.
The Teton School District No. 401 board voted unanimously Sunday night to close schools in light of the growing spread of the virus and the first confirmed case in Teton County, Idaho. Kids will be given the next week off school so administrators and teachers can develop plans for delivering education and meals to students.
"We want to be fair and equitable to everyone," Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme said. "If this puts students at a disadvantage who are already at risk, that's a huge concern to me and the administrative team."
School board members had questions about what remote education would look like, how students who receive meals would get those during the closure and how long schools might remain shuttered. Woolstenhulme didn't have many specific answers for the board members.
Instead, he said the week off school that starts Monday would give them time to develop answers. One large concern for him was the 15% to 20% of Teton Valley students who don't have access to internet at home, which would make remote learning difficult, if not impossible.
He said his team would find ways to deliver equitable education to all students until the coronavirus outbreak subsides. Students will be out until at least April 6. The week of March 23 to 26 is the pilot for the remote learning program, then the following week is spring break.
The school board will meet weekly until then to discuss the outbreak and evaluate whether students can return to school or if they will need to maintain the remote learning program.
As of Monday morning, Idaho's governor has declined to order schools closed.