COVID-19 Updates

Last Updated: 1/25/2021 10:53 PM

Preston School District Parents, Students, and Teachers,

Our overarching goal is to have students at school, working directly with teachers as much as is possible.  All of our plans are designed to maximize the amount of time students can be in school together with their teachers. 

As we receive additional information and add details to our plans to deal with COVID-19, we will post those plans and information on this website.  Updates (if any) will be made each week on Thursday.  If you have concerns, questions, suggestions, please refer those to me (marc.gee@psd201.org). 

Thank you for all you do for education in our community!

Sincerely,
Marc C. Gee

Superintendent

Preston School District

Preston School District COVID-19 Mitigation Plan

January 25, 2021 UPDATE

RE:  Spectators at School Athletic Activities
 

Preston School District Parents, Students, and Patrons,
We have received notification that we can now allow up to 40% of our gyms’ capacity for spectators at school sponsored athletic events.  This is effective as of now and will be used for the upcoming home games at Preston High School. 

The high school will continue to use the electronic ticketing process that can be accessed at phs.psd201.org.  Clicking on “PHS Event Tickets” in the quicklinks will get you there.  We are reserving 4 tickets for family members of all players on both teams (they will receive a separate code to get tickets).  In addition, we will be setting aside a number of tickets for high school students to attend (they will get their tickets at the school).  After taking those groups into consideration we anticipate we will have 200-250 additional tickets for community members to attend the games.  The passcode for Preston community members to purchase the tickets is “Preston” (with a capital P).  We would ask that as you purchase these tickets you limit your group to four to allow for more to attend the games. 

Tickets will NOT be sold at the door. If you need assistance purchasing a ticket for the game please contact Preston High School at 208-852-0280.  Tickets will go on sale at noon, the day before any game.  Those buying tickets for reserved groups must purchase before 6:00 pm the day of the game.  After 6:00 pm, all unpurchased tickets will be available for purchase, regardless of group. 

There are a few requirements we have to manage this event in order for us to continue to have the ability to have this number of fans present.

  • First, we must require that all spectators in attendance wear a mask while attending the game. 
  • Second, we will be clearing the gym out between the JV and Varsity games. 
  • Third, We are required to have a separate entrance for visiting fans.  To that end we will ask that all visiting fans plan to enter at the West Entrance.  Preston community fans can enter at either, but must follow the pathways described. 
  • Congregating outside of the gym is discouraged.  

Please cooperate with school administrators as they manage these aspects of the game.

We are excited to be moving closer to having our activities restored in our schools and see this as another important step.  We ask for the cooperation of all to meet these expectations and will continue to work to get our school and community returned to normal state of affairs.

January 21, 2021 UPDATE

Preston School District Staff, Parents, and Students,

As a district we are consistently reviewing and monitoring the data we receive both within the district, as well as in the county and state.  Based on our most recent updates and data trends we have available we are making the following adjustments to our overall COVID-19 Response plan. First some data. 

School District Active Case Monitoring

PSD 201 Case Tracking

County Active Case Monitoring

Franklin County Active Cases

From these two graphics you can see that the overall trend in the last several weeks has been down in both our district and our county.  Additionally, the percent of positive cases in our county has been declining over the last several weeks.  While there are certainly some inaccuracies in each of these data points based on reporting issues, we can see that the overall effect of COVID-19 in our county and schools is decreasing.

Additionally, as of January 21st and 22nd, the first doses of vaccinations are being made available to Preston School District employees.  We are working with Franklin County Medical Center to provide that vaccination for all who request it. 

Lastly, the governor’s task force has recommended changes to quarantine requirements for students who are potentially exposed at school. 

All of this data, taken together, leads us as a school district to make the following changes to our COVID-19 response plan.

Face Coverings

First, we will change the policy (with a couple of exceptions) regarding face coverings to reflect that we recommend face coverings for all students and staff, but it will not be required. 

  • EXCEPTION #1:  Teachers may choose to require masks within their individual classrooms until such time as teachers are able to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.  This is to reflect the data that shows that while serious complications in students may be rare, serious complications in adults can be more prevalent and may have effects on other family members.  We would request that parents and students respect the concerns that teachers share if they in classes where masks are asked to be worn.  Teachers do not make these decisions lightly and are watching out for their health or that of others in their family.
    • A note on respect:  This has been a difficult time for all.  Decisions made as a district have affected students, teachers, and parents in different ways.  In these situations, teachers have found themselves caught in the middle of expectations from the district and resistance, sometimes flagrant and abusive, from both parents and students as they try to teach students and implement district decisions.  We would ask as strongly as we can that you as parents help your students support teachers who make the decision to have masks in their classrooms.  Please do not make a difficult situation even more difficult by punishing the teachers who are trying to navigate this situation.  Disrespectful comments, messages written on masks, or other forms of disrespect directed at teachers or students will not be tolerated.
    • To that end, in an effort to support those teachers who feel they need to ask students to wear masks in their classrooms, we are implementing the following policy for students who choose not to wear the mask in the classroom of these teachers:
      • 1st Infraction:  Parents notified, detention assigned
      • 2nd Infraction:  Parents notified, student contract established, in-school suspension
      • 3rd Infraction:  Removal from classroom, out-of-school suspension

**Elementary principals will work with parents to ensure that respectful teacher requests are honored.

  • EXCEPTION #2:  Masks will play a part in the process the school follows regarding students who are exposed to COVID-19 while at school (see below).

COVID-19 Exposure

When students are exposed at school the following procedure will be followed.  If both the student who was found to have contracted COVID and those around the student are wearing masks students will not have to be sent home.  Students and staff with positive COVID tests should continue to quarantine according to the directions of their medical professionals.

If a student is exposed to another person who was positive with COVID at school and this student was not wearing a mask, they may stay at school if they are willing to wear a mask until the exposure period has passed (this period has been, on average, 3-4 school days).  Otherwise, students will be asked to stay home for that period.

Extra-Curricular Gatherings/Spectators

At this time, the governor, state board of education, and legislature are working on new plans for attendance of spectators at sporting events.  Until those plans have been finalized, we will need to remain with our current plans.  We will inform you as soon as we have revised guidance from the state and IHSAA.

Conclusion

These changes were made based on specific metrics in our district and county.  If conditions continue to improve in our district we will continue to move towards a more normal approach.  As has been the case all year, we will continue to monitor and evaluate our response.  If conditions were to worsen, we may have to return to some of the procedures we have previously had in place.  As always, we will continue to monitor conditions and inform you as parents as soon as things change.

UPDATE 1-3-2021

Preston School District Parents and Students,

We hope that your break has been a good one.  We wanted to make a few reminders and updates prior to the beginning of school tomorrow.

End of Semester/Grades/January 7th

First, a reminder that the semester ends on January 14th.  Grades will be assessed according to class syllabi and standard district grading procedures.  As such, students and parents (especially High School and Jr. High) should be aware of current status of their grades in their courses so that they can work with their teachers over the next few weeks to complete requirements for their courses.  To assist both students and teachers as they finish the semester Thursday, January 7th will be a day where students do not attend school in person, though teachers will be at the school. 

Attendance

As 2nd semester begins on January 18th, the district will adjust how attendance is being taken for students. While there will still be flexibility for students and families affected by COVID-19, for the most part, attendance will be taken and students will be responsible to appeal or make up absences over the limits in order to earn credits.  More information will come from individual schools as the beginning of 2nd semester approaches.

Quarantines/Mask Policy Reviews

The district is continuing to monitor the state of COVID transmission in the county. Over the next two weeks we will be monitoring and reviewing our current plans regarding quarantines of students and masks in the district with information from the health department, our district, and our local hospital.  Until that time, current mask and quarantine plans will continue.  Masks will continue to be required.

Activities

We have completed a plan with the governor and IHSAA that will allow for parents to be able to attend all student activities that are held in our gymnasiums.  However, there are still restrictions on other spectators.  In order to keep our activities running we are required to maintain these expectations.  Parents of student participants will be informed of expectations and should plan to keep these in order for the activities to continue.  As a district our next steps will be to work with the local health department and state to find ways to allow for more spectators.

Thank you for your continued patience.  We appreciate the help you have all given to keep our students able to go to school when so many throughout the country have not been able to do so.

--Preston School District

UPDATE 11-24-2020

Preston School District Parents,
On Sunday, November 22, the waiver we were granted for increasing the number of spectators at Preston School District events held at the high school expired.  We are now required to follow the expectations of Stage 2 as set forth by Governor Little on November 13th at all of our facilities.  As you know we have petitioned the governor’s office to request that more spectators, especially parents, be allowed to participate.  At this time the governor has not decided to grant any additional waivers, however, his office will continue to consider the petition of our district and others.

What that means for our district is that until a change is indicated by the governor we will not be able to allow any non-parent spectators to attend the games in person.  Games will continue to be streamed on mylocalradio.com.  While there is limited flexibility as far as parents go, we will work directly with parents of students who are participating in the activities, through their coaches and school administrators, to address who can attend and the process for doing so.

While we are grateful that our activities can continue, doing so without spectators is not our desire and we will continue to advocate at the state level for as many participants as we can safely maintain in any given event.  We have hopes that we will be able to do so soon. 

We will continue to communicate with you as the situation changes and we commit to continuing to advocate for spectators to be allowed.

Preston School District Administration

UPDATE 11-19-2020 (SPANISH VERSION)

We have a few updates to share:

  1. ONLINE WORK DAYS: Last night the school board approved changing the following dates to online work days for students:  December 7th, December 21st, December 22nd, and January 7th.  The decision was made looking at survey results from teachers and parents and considering the level of disruption to student and teachers schedules.  On those days students will not attend school. It will be a day they can spend catching up or making up work.  Teachers will be using those days at the school to continue to develop and create materials for students who are not able to attend due to COVID.  Some students will have some longer term assignments or projects that may still be due on those dates.  Please be sure that your students communicate with their teachers to be clear how these changes may affect the due dates for those assignments. 
  2. EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITY ATTENDANCE:  We continue to work within the waiver that was granted by Southeast Idaho Public Health allowing for roughly 250-300 attendees at school events held in the high school gymnasium.  We appreciate those who have attended keeping with the rules that have been established for attendance.  As we noted last week that waiver will expire on Sunday November 22nd.  After that, as the order from the governor now stands, we would only be allowed 10 spectators at any given event.  However, we have been in contact with the state board of education, IHSAA, and the governor’s office multiple times this week asking for recourse for parents to attend their children’s activities.  We have reason to hope that there will be a change in that direction soon.  Just to make clear our priorities in this matter. 
    1. Our #1 priority is that the activities can continue for the students.
    2. Our next priority is to advocate for parents of those participating to be able to attend those activities.
    3. Finally, students, school patrons, and other spectators.

We will continue to advocate for these priorities as long as we feel there is an avenue that will legally allow us to continue.We will update you as soon as we have any information.

  1. FALL SEMESTER GRADES:  Finally I wanted to emphasize with all parents and students that grades for this semester will be granted based on our standard grading procedures.  Students will ultimately be responsible for the work that they produce.  Our teachers continue to stand ready to work with students and help.  The additional work days will be great opportunities for students to take extra time to catch up, if they are behind.

UPDATE 11-13-2020

Preston School District Parents, Students, and Patrons,

Today, Governor Little moved the state to Stage 2 in the Idaho Rebounds Plan.  I would like to share what that means in the immediate future for our school district. 

First and foremost, we will continue to hold school as we have for the last several weeks.  Masks will continue to be required for all students and staff as outlined in our most recent update to the reopening plans.  The Governor’s direction is very clear that schools are still able to hold classes in person. 

The next impact is on extra-curricular activities and spectators.  The primary direction in this area is that the activity can continue to be held, but that spectators would be limited to 10 or fewer.  In Stage 3, as we reported to you earlier this week, we applied for and were granted a waiver.  Stage 2 instructions had this information:  Gatherings that received an exemption from a public health district prior to 1:00 PM, November 13, 2020, may occur subject to the requirements provided by the health district and the Stay Healthy Order dated October 27, 2020.  This exemption is only valid for gatherings occurring prior November 22, 2020.

With this guidance, along with clarification from Southeast Idaho Public Health, we will continue to hold events through the 22nd as we had described earlier this week.  In the meantime, we will continue to investigate any avenue we can to provide safe, healthy ways for spectators to participate in the extra-curricular activities at the school. 

While we work on ways to provide spectators with opportunities to participate, we would ask that all those who attend events between now and November 22, wholly observe the requirements we have put in place.  It will be a much stronger argument if it is clear that those attending events are doing their best to meet the safety guidelines we have put in place. 

As we continue to receive guidance regarding the governor’s announcement today, we will inform you on ways that it affects our schools and your students.

Thank you again for all of your support and efforts to keep our students attending school this year.

Sincerely,


Marc Gee

UPDATE 11-12-2020  (SCHEDULE SURVEY LINK BELOW)

Preston School District Parents

I wanted to take a moment to update you on our status as a district in regards to COVID-19 response.

First and foremost, we plan to maintain the requirement of masks in our schools as it has been established.  This has been based on the following information. 

  • While we recognize that active cases in our county have decreased, they currently stand at 58, with a rolling 14 day average of 70 (down from 94).  We are encouraged with the decrease in overall case numbers, however, the numbers are still high for our community.
  • Our county continues to be listed in the High Risk Category by Southeast Idaho Public Health.
  • The governor has moved the state of Idaho into Stage 3 and recommendations during this phase is that masks are worn when in public. 
  • District case numbers also initially decreased and have been on a slight increase over the last several days.  We also currently have 75-80 students who have been asked to remain out of school because of exposure to students who were confirmed with the virus.
  • Health care workers quarantined (25 in the last five weeks) and hospitalizations of community members continue to be a concern for Franklin County Medical Center.

All these factors taken together have led us to determine that it would be prudent to maintain the requirement for mask use while at school as it has been detailed.  These factors will be reviewed and discussed by school board members in their next scheduled board meeting, and if no change is announced, the data will be reviewed again after the Thanksgiving break.

Second, I would like to invite you to answer a few questions regarding schedules for your students in the coming weeks.  As a result of the high numbers of absences and the goal we have to continue to deliver instruction and materials for students when they are not able to participate at school, we are looking for ways to provide additional time for our teachers to prepare these materials for students who are not present in their classes.  We recognize that changes to the set calendar or schedule could have a significant effect on families and would like to have your thoughts on the matter.  Please take a moment to review these possible options in the following survey.  SURVEY LINK CLICK HERE

Finally, thank you again for all who have been so supportive in the process, even when you’ve been asked to do things you didn’t want to do.  Your patience and sacrifice are certainly recognized and appreciated by us in the school district.

 

UPDATE 11-10-2020 (Spanish Version)

RE:  Extra-curricular Event Plans in Stage 3

Preston School District Students, Parents, and Patrons,

As most are aware, on Monday, October 26th, Governor Little moved Idaho into Stage 3 in the coronavirus recovery plan.  One part of that move requires that gatherings be limited to 50 people or less.  This includes school activities like basketball games, music concerts, etc..  However, there was also an allowance for creating a local plan for these events that might allow more spectators, but the plan must be approved by the health department. 

Recognizing that these events are an important part of, not just our school, but the community as well, we have created a plan that was submitted to, and approved by, the Southeastern Idaho Public Health department.  This plan will allow for more spectators than 50, but still not as many as we normally have attend these events, up to 300 in our main high school gym and up to 120 in our school auditorium.

The plan calls for the following, in order to be able to have more than 50 spectators present:

  • Social Distancing will occur in both the gym and auditorium seating.  Two rows between each family group and three seats between family groups.  (Some events will have ushered or assigned seating).
  • Those who attend these events will be expected to wear a mask while in attendance.
  • Tickets will be sold online or in the school office prior to arrival at the event.  No tickets will be sold at the door.  Online tickets are available at phs.psd201.org  (if you need assistance please contact the high school office)
  • Lines for concessions and restrooms will be spaced. 
  • Spectators will be asked not to congregate before or after the event in the building.

Cooperation of all involved will be critical in order for us to be able to keep the number of people attending our events above 50.  School administrators and staff will be on hand to encourage spectators to keep to these expectations.  If a spectator chooses not to follow the expectations listed they will be asked to leave the event. 

KACH will broadcast varsity boys and girls basketball games.  Their broadcast can be found at:  https://mylocalradio.com/preston/ .

Families of participants will be given first priority for tickets to events. 

We would ask all involved to work with us as we again attempt to make the best of a bad situation.  It is not our desire to limit the number of people who can come to school events.  Given the restrictions that have been put in place we are doing all we can to maximize the number of people that are allowed to participate. 

UPDATE 10-22-2020

Preston School District Families,

I wanted to reach out and thank you all for your support and work as we made adjustments to our plans this week.  I know it was not easy for many, but I appreciated the way it was approached by all.  We have two more bits of information to share with all of you.

First, the board has approved to release students on November 3rd and no classes will be held in the district.  This will accomplish a few goals.  One, it will allow our polling location at Pioneer to be utilized without risk of disruption to the school day or students.  Two, it will provide more flexibility for all of our employees to exercise their right to vote on a day that may have some challenges depending on where they live.  Teachers will still be working that day and will be utilizing the time to continue to prepare and make adaptations for their classes to better serve those that are not able to attend due to COVID.  We encourage all to exercise their right to vote and cast their ballots.

Second, we wanted to make you aware as families of a program offered by the state of Idaho that may be able to assist you.  The program is called “Strong Families, Strong Students”.

Idaho families are facing many challenges as they are forced to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances in their children’s education because of COVID-19. Through the Strong Families, Strong Students program Idaho families are provided access to grant funds to help with their students learning.

Strong Families, Strong Students 
Is a grant program funded by Idaho’s Coronavirus Relief Funds, which provides Idaho students access to grant dollars that can be used to purchase educational goods and services that their families decide their students need.

Information regarding this program can be found here:

Strong Families, Strong Students Letter (English and Spanish)

FAQs (English)

FAQs (Spanish)

Strongfamilies.idaho.gov

If you apply for these funds you will need a document that shows your student was enrolled in one of our schools between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.  It will need the student name, a valid date, and the school name.  There are several items you could use (report card, student schedule, progress report, etc) if they have all of these things.  As a district, we will send, via our messaging service, a letter to all students in the district next week. 

If you have more questions about this program you can email Mr. Gee at marc.gee@psd201.org.

Thank you.

UPDATE 10-20-2020

Parents,

Last week as I shared information regarding the changes to our plans in response to COVID-19 I made some errors in the process that caused some problems for some of the families in our district. 

Schools were informed earlier in the day on Thursday of the finalization of plans and the message to parents was sent at 5:00 pm that afternoon.  Unfortunately, some of the students in the district received the information while at school, which meant that they received the message before their parents could have the appropriate conversations they would have liked to have had with their children.  As superintendent, I take responsibility for that oversight as I did not give schools specific instructions not to share the information.

I sincerely apologize for the problems this may have caused in your homes.  With matters of importance we try to make sure that parents are informed and have the information they need to have important conversations with their children as they see fit.  I have discussed this matter with the administrative team and we will do our best to avoid future repeats of the same mistake.

Again, I am sorry if this has caused problems for you.  Please reach out if you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Marc Gee

UPDATE 10-15-2020 (en espanol)

Preston School District Parents and Students:

The county is continuing to see increases in the number of active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19.  After serious consideration and conversations with county commissioners, Franklin County Medical Center, Southeast Idaho Public Health, as well as feedback from you and parents via surveys and comments, we feel it is necessary to make adjustments to our plans to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe and to assist our health care community in their attempts to meet the needs, not just of COVID-19 patients, but all that might need medical attention, which could be put in jeopardy if cases and hospitalizations continue to rise unchecked.

We do not take this decision lightly.  Please understand that this is temporary and is only motivated by our desire to help assist our health care providers, keep our staff and students safe, and to keep our students coming to school on a daily basis for as long as possible.  This approach will be re-evaluated every 2 to 3 weeks depending on conditions. 

Adjustments for Preston School District 

  1. Masks required for students at PHS, FCHS, and PJH at all times unless eating or as instructed by a teacher or administrator.  Teachers and administrators may make allowances for students in their environments to remove their masks if social distancing of 6 feet can be maintained. (exceptions only for medical conditions presented by parents, approved by admin) Parents should plan to supply the masks for their students.  If that is not possible, cloth or disposable masks can be provided.
  2. Masks required for students when participating in group activities and when in close proximity at Oakwood Elementary and Pioneer Elementary as directed by their teacher (exceptions only for medical conditions presented by parents, approved by admin) 
  3. Masks will be required for students riding busses, including extra-curricular busses or vans.  
  4. Students who are found to be in within six feet for 15 minutes or more to other students with a positive COVID test will be required to remain home for 10 days after last exposure (staying at school will not be an option) 
    1.  Exception:  Negative nasal swab/PCR/antigen (not antibody) test will allow students to return to regular participation as long as symptoms are not persisting (this test is only valid after 7 days from most recent exposure). 
  5. Students who are required to remain home as a result will not have absences counted against them, however, they will be responsible for work that was prepared by the teacher during that time. (Student attendance at FCHS will continue to be monitored according to their regular plans)
  6. Staff members are expected to wear a mask unless 6 feet of separation can be maintained. As teachers are giving instruction they may need to do so without a mask.
  7. Volunteers and guests coming into the school will be required to wear a mask if proceeding past the office.
  8. Extra-curricular considerations
  • Parents and students are aware of the risks and will be notified if a player has tested positive on a team on which their student participates.
  • Masks will be required when riding in any school vehicle (bus, van, or car). 
  • Masks will be required of athletes and coaches on the sidelines. (may be removed to communicate with players on the court/field etc.) 
  • Students quarantined (for exposure) from school can still participate in after school activities as long as they are not displaying symptoms and wear masks for all but full action practice and drills.
  • Student participants will be masked whenever social distancing cannot be maintained.

Fans at extra-curricular activities  

Masks are required to enter but no limiting the number of spectators will take place.

Why are we making this decision? 

  1.  Active case counts reported by the health department and FCMC are well above the high risk limit. 
  2. 10-15% of the health care workers at FCMC are under quarantine because of COVID + testing or COVID exposure. 
  3. School District Staff positivity counts are increasing.
  4. Hospitalizations due to COVID are increasing. 
  5. Key service providers are quarantined as a result of COVID exposure. 
  6. Recommendations from federal and state agencies.
  7. The majority of parents who completed the most recent survey indicated that they would prefer a requirement for masks over an alternating schedule.

If cases were to continue to escalate the district may have to move to a schedule that limits the number of students in the building at any given time (like an alternating AB schedule).  As stated before, our primary goal is to keep students in school as much as possible and that will be the driving force for decisions related to schedule adjustments. 

UPDATE 10-5-2020

Preston School District Parents,
Thank you for your continued support as we have managed through the first month and a half of school.  We appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to continue educating your students in a face-to-face environment as much as possible. 

At this time, as cases continue to increase, we have been moved, as a county, to a high risk level by the health department.  According to our original plan, if that were to happen we would consider moving to an alternating schedule where students would come to school every other day.  This would be to allow for increased spacing between students both in classrooms and between classes.  The school board will be considering this move at the next scheduled board meeting unless cases continue to escalate, in which case, the decision may be made by the superintendent at an earlier date. ***PLEASE NOTE:  This is only to inform you as parents of our process.  This is NOT an announcement of a change at this time*****

If the district were to move to an alternating schedule we would do so on a temporary basis, analyzing the cases in the county and in the school every two to three weeks, with the goal of returning to a regular schedule as soon as possible.  If this were to happen students would be separated as follows students with last names A through K would attend on Monday and Wednesday and students with last names L through Z would attend on Tuesday and Thursday.

Additionally, the school district is considering, if we were to move to an AB schedule, to do so for students at Preston Jr. High and Preston High School only.  Our elementary schools and Franklin County High School are better able to separate students by class than PHS and PJH and have not had a significant number of cases among their students.  To help us as we consider this and a few other items, we have created a quick two question survey to better help us understand your perspective on these proposed changes. 

Finally, understanding that for many this is a sensitive issue, please recognize this is designed to give the school board information.  No decision has been made on this topic.  For many the alternating schedule, even if it were just for secondary students, may create difficulties in schedules and home life.  The goal of the alternating schedule is to attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.  An alternative could be to require students at the secondary level to wear masks when 6 feet of separation can’t be maintained, and elementary students, only when they are in close proximity to one another.  Accommodations could be made for those with medical conditions that would be complicated by wearing a mask.  Again, this is not making a decision, but providing information to the school board as they try to keep our students in school and learning face to face as much as possible.  A question about this will be included in the survey.

Parents, thank you so much for your help.  We know many things in regards to COVID-19 are frustrating and that often the school is in the center of those frustrations.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have worked on this process.

LINK FOR SURVEY

UPDATE 9-17-2020

COVID Mitigation Plan Update

If a student in school has been diagnosed with a positive COVID test

Only parents of students who had direct contact with the student will be alerted.

It is tremendously helpful if parents, upon learning of a positive case in a student, will contact the school as quickly as possible.  To that end we have created a method whereby parents, after hours, can contact the school to alert them of the positive test. The link will be on the district home page as of Friday, September 18th.  If positive results are received during the school day please contact the student’s school directly. 

After Hours Notification of positive COVID case:  Positive COVID Case Reporting Form

Form includes:

  • Name of Student
  • Parent/Guardian Name
  • Date and time of first symptoms
  • Date and time of test
  • Date and time received notification of positive result
  • Location of Testing
  • Swab testing or antigen/antibody testing
  • Students, besides those sitting by the student in class who have been within 6 feet for fifteen minutes or more.

Please notify as soon as possible.  If you receive positive results during the school day, please contact the school directly.

If students or staff were in close contact with a student or staff member with a positive COVID test. (any discussion of days is in terms of all days, not just school days)

  • If students or staff were wearing a mask when in close contact, no further action will be required.
  • Students and staff are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines to stay home for 14 days from last date of close contact (Within 6 ft for 15 minutes or more)
  • However, students and staff will only be required to stay home from school for 7 days from last date of close contact with a confirmed case.
    • Median date of infection is 5 days
    • With school-based close contact, most students will be required to miss school for 1-2 days.
  • If a student prefers to stay at school he/she will be required to wear a mask and symptoms will be checked regularly (daily) by school staff.  If symptoms appear, the student will be expected to go home.

Participation in Activities

Follow same guidelines as above

Testing for COVID as method for maintaining participation in school activities

There are two types of tests currently being offered to the general public.

  1. COVID-19 Viral Testing (nasal swab):  This test looks for the COVIC-19 virus in a machine that uses the PCR method to detect the virus.  It will detect the virus if you are currently infected.  It is most accurate in the middle of the infection period.  It will not detect the virus if you were infected in the past.
  2. COVID-19 Antibody Testing (blood):  This test detects the antibodies that your body develops to the COVID-19 Virus.  There are two types, IgM and IgG antibodies.  IgM indicates the body is currently infected and is only accurate 7-10 days after the most recent exposure to the virus.  IgG are only detected 7-10 days after an infection, indicating a past infection. 

While the district does not require or request students to be tested after a potential exposure it should be made clear that an antibody test cannot be used by the district to certify negative test results until 7 days have passed since the most recent potential exposure. 

The nasal swab test can be used to certify negative test results, regardless of the number of days after the most recent exposure. 

In any case, whether for extra-curricular activities or school attendance, if a student is symptomatic they should not participate is school classes or after school activities (games, practices, performances, etc). 

If the number of days recommended to stay home has passed and the student is still symptomatic, they should not participate in school classes or after school activities (games, practices, performances, etc).

UPDATE 9-8-2020 (en espanol)

Dear Preston School District parents, staff, and community members:

Today, we received notification that a student attending Preston High School has tested positive for COVID-19. While we must protect the privacy of the person involved, we believe it is best to communicate transparently with you so you can make well-informed decisions for your family.

There is nothing more important to us than the safety and health of our students, our staff, and their families. We have contacted those students and their families who had contact with this student and given recommendations for how to proceed.  If you or your student were not contacted by the principals or secretaries, your student was not identified as one who had been in contact with the student who tested positive.

As a district it is impossible to create a school environment that is both educationally sound and free of all possible avenues for virus transmission.  We will continue to follow all COVID-related safety procedures as outlined in the plan available on our website (prestonidahoschools.org).

COVID-19 is transmitted through person-to-person contact and through the exchange of respiratory droplets. As more cases are being confirmed across the state, including in our community, we must be vigilant. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you or any member of your family exhibit these symptoms, please contact your medical provider for advice immediately. Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure.

The CDC recommends the following best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick. 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. 
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. 
  • Stay at home when you or family members are sick.
  • Practice social distancing, leaving at least six feet between
          you and other people. 
  • Wear a cloth mask in public when you cannot social distance.

 

Our greatest priority is the safety of our students, staff, and community members. It is important to remember that children are greatly influenced by the reactions of adults when facing difficult circumstances. I encourage everyone to remain calm and to be empathic and respectful to those affected.

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you and your family, especially as we face this challenging situation together. Thank you for your support of Preston School District.

Sincerely,

Marc Gee
 Superintendent

UPDATE 8-12-2020

While there have not been significant changes to the overall plan for the district, many details have been filled in in this updated plan for returning to school.  

UPDATED RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN

UPDATE 7-30-2020

We continue to fine tune our plan based on the feedback you shared on the survey.  A final draft of our plans will be available next week (ideally on Monday or Tuesday).  We have, however, created the application for parents to fill out if they would like to participate in the virtual option, as well as having created a virtual learning Frequently Asked Questions page, which we will update as we get more questions about virtual learning.  Those links can be found here:

VIRTUAL LEARNING APPLICATION:  FALL 2020

VIRTUAL LEARNING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We are asking that this application be completed by the end of the day on Monday, August 3rd to give us time to prepare and organize the virtual classrooms.

UPDATE 7-16-2020

In last night's school board meeting, a draft plan was shared with the school board.  Some adjustments have been made to that draft plan and that plan can be found at the link on the next line.

PRESTON SCHOOL DISTRICT:  DRAFT PLAN FOR OPENING SCHOOLS IN FALL 2020

We encourage all who are affected by this plan to read through this document, understanding some of the limitations.  First, there are still many details that we will work out as school approaches and will inform you as those are solidified.  Second, this plan is still in draft form.  This is deliberate at this point, so as to give you as patrons of the district an opportunity to share your feedback.  To that end we have developed the following survey that we would ask all parents and any other interested parties to participate in.  It is a little long (about 20 questions), but your input will help us as we continue to develop and finalize our plan.  The link for this survey can be found on the next line.

PRESTON SCHOOL DISTRICT:  PARENT/PATRON SURVEY

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work towards a positive start to the school year and wonderful educational experience for your students. 

NOTE: This message is being shared via our district messaging service, but we will continue to update each Thursday via this webpage.

UPDATE 7-9-2020

Idaho State School Board members released the recommendations for schools opening in the fall today.  Here is a link to those re-opening guidelines.  Our district has a preliminary plan that is being shared among teachers and administrators this weekend.  Between now and Wednesday the 15th we will be adjusting the plan to accommodate for feedback from those groups.  The plan will then be presented in board meeting and on Thursday shared with the public for comment.  Thanks to those who have shared ideas and concerns with the district through teachers, administrators, or school board members.  

We know this is a stressful time and that having a plan is important, but we think it is equally important to have all the pertinent information before we share so that we can keep further adjustments to a minimum.

UPDATE 7-2-2020

Unfortunately there is not a lot of new news this week.  Mr. Gee and district principals met together Tuesday to work through some questions and details regarding some of the different scenarios.  State School Board recommendations did not come out this week as they had indicated it would.  For a news report regarding the state board process you can click here

We will continue monitor news from the state board, but we are still on schedule to have a plan to review with the Preston School Board by the July 15th board meeting and immediately following the board meeting we will release a survey for parents to share their thoughts and input on the plan.