Alta Elementary School temperature checks

Alta Elementary School first grader Eloise Gould has her face scanned by a temperature reader before school in mid-December. Students whose temperature is higher than normal are isolated for a 15-minute “cooling off” period before being re-scanned. Students whose temperatures remain elevated are sent home for the day.

Ahead of the school board’s Thursday special meeting, nearly 200 people are making it known where they stand on in-person learning.

A petition is circling in Jackson, started by parents Alex Hillinger and Megan Beck, along with a couple other families, that expresses support for increasing the number of classroom days for middle and high school students. As of press time, the petition — which is at — had garnered at least 165 signatures.

“It is time to start stepping towards offering more school for children, given that there’s going to be more protections in place for the staff,” Beck told the Jackson Hole Daily on Wednesday, referring to the fact that educators are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine this month.

The Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, with only one action item — changing the hybrid schedule. Trustee Bill Scarlett called for the meeting at last week’s regular monthly meeting.

Scarlett’s original suggestion was that the board consider increasing the middle and high schools to a four-day in-person schedule; bringing students back full time later this year; and taking a virtual week following spring break to mitigate spread of COVID-19 from travel.

Many parents who commented on the petition say they feel the hybrid schedule is less successful for students. Beck agreed, saying it has worked well for her kids, but that she knows that’s not true for all families.

Results from the petition have been sent to the school board, Beck said, but it will be kept open until Friday. When the board meets Thursday, it will take public comment on the issue, with each speaker capped at three minutes.

Board members implied at last week’s meeting that they anticipated a high number of people wanting to weigh in. Information on how to tune in can be found at

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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