4/17/2020 COVID-19 Update From the Superintendent

Message from the Superintendent

Friday, April 17, 2020

Dear Parents & Guardians,


               Although we are not in school at this time, it hasn’t slowed down the hectic pace we have had the past few weeks.  News on the COVID-19 pandemic situation changes every hour in our state, as well as across the United States and the world.  But seeing that we can only take care of our students and community, that’s where our focus lies.  I’d like to personally thank those parents and community members, who have been so supportive of the school district and what we have been trying to accomplish while our students are away from our classrooms.  Patience is truly a virtue but understanding and positive support really boosts our spirits as educators.  We certainly hope that we are doing the same for you and our students because we are all in this together!


               On Wednesday of this week, Governor Little extended his “Stay-At-Home” order for the state through the remainder of this month – going from April 20th to April 30th.  He will readdress this again in the week’s to come.  On Thursday, the State Board of Education provided criteria to school districts who are wanting to reopen their schools before the end of May.  That criteria is as follows:

Idaho State Board of Education Minimum Re-entry Criteria: 

1. No statewide or local social distancing restrictions, including stay-home orders or 

extensive closures of businesses are in place. 

a. Exceptions to the soft closure should continue to be considered for staff and student needs, on a case by case basis, as determined at the local level (e.g. small groups of students that can be distanced in a way that meets the social distancing criteria for the purpose of proctoring exams or working one-on-one with special education students, as long as the school district or charter school has sufficient capacity to maintain hygiene and sanitation). 

2. The peak of the state infection curve has passed, as determined by the State Department of Health and Welfare, and a minimum of 14 days have passed from the identified peak. In those instances where local community spread has occurred, the local infection curve will be evaluated for determining the 14 consecutive days. School districts and charter schools located in counties that have experienced no community spread at the time state restrictions are lifted may have the 14 consecutive days criteria waived with approval by the local public health district. 

3. Approval by the local public health district, after review of school district and charter school 

cleaning and disinfection protocols. 

4. Re-entry plan approved by the local board of trustees identifying minimum school 

protocols (see list below). 

Required Minimum School Protocols 

a. Cleaning and disinfection protocols.

b. Identify and plan for vulnerable staff and students with a special emphasis on people 

over age 60 and those who are medically vulnerable. 

c. Identify and plan for staff duties which require close contact.

d. Absenteeism plan for staff and students whose parents do not feel comfortable returning their student to school and for students who show symptoms of the coronavirus.

e. Communications plan for informing parents and staff of the school district and charter school response plans, protocols, and policies to manage the impact of the coronavirus.

f. Verify point of contact for each school district and charter school for effective communication and collaboration with the local public health officials.

g. Reopening plans are reviewed in consultation with local public health officials. 


As you can see, these will be difficult criteria pieces to meet, but there is an opportunity for reopening.   The Board of Trustees and myself will continue to discuss our options and look at future opportunities, as well as possible scenarios down the line.  Our next Special Board Meeting on this subject will be next Monday evening, at 6:00 p.m. and will be a videoconference.  You are welcome to attend and listen in.  Our videoconference link is: 


Senior Class and Parents/Guardians of the Senior Class: 

Next week you will be receiving an invite via email to participate in a Zoom videoconferencing meeting so we can talk about options for Graduation, Prom, and other activities that will most likely have to change due to the COVID-19 concerns.  If you do not have the ability to be in the videoconference, you may phone in to a number that will be on the invitation and will connect you into the meeting so you may still participate.  I am looking forward to seeing you, as well as “brainstorming” with you ideas to still make Graduation happen.

Meals and Materials Delivery:  

Very Important!!!  Next week, meal deliveries and material deliveries will no longer be going out to Emergency Bus Pickup sites only.  The State has received a waiver that will allow buses to deliver at Regular Bus Route Pickup sites.  We are asking for you to pickup food at your normal bus pickup sites, starting this coming Monday, April 20th.  Phone contact has been made to almost all our students and families listing the times that the buses will be in your area.  If you haven’t been contacted, please contact the Elementary (208-875-1331) or the Bus Barn (208-875-0420) to make arrangements for delivery.  And from this point on, you do not have to sign up on a weekly basis for food delivery, this will be automatic.  However, if you do not want food delivered anymore, please go to the district Webpage.  An Opt-Out form is available for you to fill out and send in to stop delivery.


In closing, I wanted to stress to you the importance of communication from you to us and us to you.  We know that this is a stressful time, as well as scary time for both you and your child/children.  Our intention, as educators, is not to put more pressure on anyone.  We want our students to put out effort in their studies and the work that we provide.  However, we realize that the education landscape has changed and that we have more obstacles and barriers to overcome.  We do understand that we have to be flexible to make this work, so if you and your child/children are having difficulties with work, materials, connectivity issues, etc., please reach out to us.  We will always be able to work on a solution.  Thank you!                     



Jeffrey A. Cirka, Superintendent

(208) 875-0327


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Potlatch School District #285
635 Pine Street
Potlatch, ID 83855
Phone: 208.875.0327
Fax: 208.875.2560