Teton County School District No. 1

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m. March 15: Teton County School District No. 1 has cancelled all classes starting Monday, March 16. This means students won't enter buildings for at least three weeks, until at least April 6.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, 10 p.m. March 14: Even though a Teton County, Idaho, woman has tested positive for coronavirus, school district officials aren't quite ready to close schools in Jackson.

Teton County School District No. 1 officials said Friday that if a case was confirmed in the surrounding area, they would close schools. However, Eastern Idaho Public Health District Director Geri Rackow told a press conference Saturday that she wasn't recommending schools on the western side of the Tetons close.

Given Rackow's advice to Teton County, Idaho schools, their counterparts in Jackson are taking more time to make their decision.

"As this dynamic, rapidly changing situation unfolds, we are further consulting with our local Health Officer and the Teton County Health Department Director to determine the best course of action," the district's Saturday night update to parents said.

The case in Idaho didn't show any evidence of community spread. Instead, the woman had direct contact with someone with the virus in a neighboring state. Without demonstrated community transmission, it might be possible that her case is isolated and wouldn't reach school populations.

The communication to parents acknowledged the uncertainty and worry surrounding the quickly moving virus.

"With a confirmed case of COVID-19 so close to home, we understand families will have heightened concerns about exposure to this virus," it says. "As always, parents who do not feel it is in their child's best interest to attend school certainly may excuse their student from school."

Parents can expect more information from the district before students are expected to return to school Monday. Information coordinator Charlotte Reynolds previously told the News&Guide that plans were being made for students to take home their electronic devices so they could take classes remotely, and that meals would be made available to students in need, should schools close.

However, parents will have to wait at least one more day to hear whether their kids will have to show up Monday morning.

"We will provide an update to all TCSD #1 families and staff tomorrow evening, Sunday, March 15th," the Saturday night communication says.

The News&Guide is providing COVID-19 articles free of charge to non-subscribers as a community service. The News&Guide has created a special page on our website to find all local coronavirus coverage. Stay informed, stay calm and wash your hands early and often. — Eds.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

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.

(1) comment

Karen Hogan

I listened to the town meeting yesterday and what I’m concerned about is the small number of respirators we have at the hospital. It’s my feeling that if I am able to keep my child home from school, then that’s my responsibility to our elderly and ad risk community. Our family will isolate in hope it may prevent a few more instances of contagion.

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