- Cassia County School District 151
Board to Meet
March 15, 2020
For immediate release:
CASSIA TRUSTEES ACT IN WAKE OF PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
After careful consideration of recent events, public discussion, and concern for public health, Cassia County School District Board of Trustees will close all county schools Tuesday March 17th through March 29th, 2020.
Monday, March 16th, students and staff will prepare for closure by working to organize learning materials and access to digital curriculum. Monday is a previously scheduled half-day.
The Cassia County District Office will remain open during the closure. School staff will also report March 17th-20th to ensure that ongoing educational services are ready and functioning. Spring Break takes in the week of March 23-27.
Trustees would like to emphasize the need for caution over panic. School administrators and officials will work with families to address learning and food needs. As this is a developing situation, more information and details will be communicated to the community as they become available.
BOARD MEETING SUMMARY (3-13)
Utilizing local and state information including a morning press conference by Governor Little, Cassia school board members convened a meeting and discussed the local response to corona virus. Dr. Shank stated his shared desire for safety. Although not unfamiliar with the outbreak and spread of disease, district policy and procedure are being employed to minimize fears.
A noon meeting held Friday, March 13, 2020 at the central office board room included discussion regarding sanitization of schools, large crowd gatherings and recommendations on closure. Shank told board members that the district is consulting with the proper authorities on questions of operations.
Ultimately the board concluded that closure is not warranted at this time. This follows the guidance from state officials for students in public K-12 schools. Citing Governor Little’s comments, timing for any closure is a critical factor to overall safety. The guidance does not recommend closure. This is a developing story and we are tracking state guidance closely.
Chair Ryan Cranney reiterated the desire to follow expert and health professionals as they monitor the situation. All board members agreed regular communication is a priority. Parents/guardians can expect communication from the district through email, text, notifications and school websites.
Talk shifted to out of state travel and large crowd gatherings.
Vice Chair Heber Loughmiller suggested a postponement of activities and limiting numbers of people in the buildings outside of the school day. The board did not specify a number at this meeting, but will consider a number at their next week’s meeting. Attorney, Lance Loveland posed several scenarios regarding the enforcement of limiting numbers for events. Out of state travel was cancelled.
Board member Darin Moon expressed a desire to be prudent and use the available knowledge to make the best decisions based on what is known. As this situation is changing rapidly, the Board committed to informal and formal communication to the community.
Following the board meeting, superintendents Dr. Shank and Dr. Cox, of Minidoka school district, communicated by phone. Any possibility of closure will be discussed between both district administrators.
*Updated information since the Board met at noon: The Governor made an announcement of a first confirmed case at 5pm today. This announcement does not change the Board discussion.
The Board of Trustees will meet, March 13 at 12pm, central office board room to discuss the coronavirus.
As you know, the Coronavirus or COVID-19 continues to impact our day to day conversations. As of today, there has been no confirmed cases in the State of Idaho, coronavirus.idaho.gov. There are many rumors circulating, but we will follow the guidance telling us that the Governor will be the first to announce any confirmed cases.
So that you are aware of our actions to-date we have completed the following:
- Developed a Contagion Containment Safety Operations Protocol. This is for the District and the schools. https://www.cassiaschools.org/
- Continuity of Operations Standard Operating Procedure.
- Attended the South-Central Health Department COVID-19 community officials coordinating meeting.
- Attended Idaho State Department COVID-19 State Department webinars.
- Posted factual information about the virus on our website since January 31st.
- Regularly communicated through app, text, and website.
- ABM facilities mangers have implemented sanitations procedures in accordance with national recommendations.
- Encouraged proper etiquette for reducing spread of the contagion.
- Met with building principals and department directors to begin the process of ongoing anticipated educational services for students.
- Worked to develop and create the correct response for managing an outbreak of the disease.
- Worked closely to ensure that school nurses are available.
- Every day, we are carefully monitoring national and state information from CDC, State of Idaho Health Departments and other viable sources.
As with any outbreak of disease, the District has policy and procedure to guide us. When we receive information, we will consult with proper authorities and decide to either continue operations or close. In the event that we close, continued academic services will be implemented and clear notification will be provided.
Finally, please continue to monitor our website and communications through text, app, and email. We share your concern about the virus and all decisions will be made with the best interest of students and staff. We will be timely and frequent in our communications as this situation updates and changes regularly.