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Cassia schools respond to health district's COVID-19 high risk category with 4-day week
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Cassia schools respond to health district's COVID-19 high risk category with 4-day week

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Virtual learning coming to Cassia County

Summer Jackson, credit recovery coordinator for the Cassia County School District, works remotely with students in summer school Thursday, July 9, 2020, at her office at Mountain View Elementary School in Burley.

BURLEY — Cassia County students will start school Aug. 24 with a four-day school week after the South Central Public Health District said the county was at high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Cassia County School District Spokeswoman Critchfield said in an email that the school district trustees met Thursday to discuss the district’s options after receiving the health district information.

The district is committed to providing some form of in-person instruction at the start of school, Critchfield said.

Fridays will be used as a workday for training and professional development and Mondays will no longer be an early release day, she said.

The health district’s orange category corresponds to the school district’s yellow category in the district’s reopening plan, she said.

Board Vice Chairman Heber Loughmiller said in an email that the district needs to “provide some certainty about school starting to our staff and community.”

Trustee Darin Moon said the board’s decisions are not political statements and “following guidelines and recommendations puts us all in a safer position.”

Moon said the pandemic can be compared to a monster in children’s lives, causing educational gaps, increasing emotional health needs and suicide and educational gaps.

“I choose for children to be fully engaged in the school setting,” Moon said.

Chris James, fiscal manager for the district, said acquiring supplies has been an ongoing effort and, in addition to limited resources, many supplies are simply hard to get.

The district spent $30,000 alone for hand sanitizer stations and has been buying personal protective equipment and thermometers since spring.

The board also discussed the safety of staff and faculty. Although masks are not required, the board is encouraging the use of masks.

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