Saturday, September 19, 2020
Schools Prepare to Screen Students Should They Return to School
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St. Luke’s Wood River and St. Luke’s Meridian, both of which operate in communities with multiple cases of coronavirus, have opened drive-up testing and screening tents. St. Luke’s Boise will begin offering tests today.
   
Thursday, March 19, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The Blaine County School Board plans to screen students for the coronavirus should schools be able to reopen on April 6.

With Blaine County now with five of Idaho's 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the school district wants to ensure that those who are infected with the virus are excluded from school property until proper treatment can be received, said Board President Keith Roark.

“How such screenings will be structured has not yet been determined but we will have the process in place prior to reopening,” he added.

South Central Public Health District confirmed two additional cases of novel coronavirus in the state Wednesday night, bringing the total to 11. One is a male from Blaine County in his 40s. He presented very mild symptoms and is recovering at home.

The other is a male from Twin Falls County in his 80s. He was briefly hospitalized but is now recovering at home.

Investigations into both cases began Wednesday afternoon. Public Health District authorities have contacted all known close contacts of the first four cases confirmed in Blaine County. They are self-isolating at home and haven't shown symptoms. Investigation shows transmission for the first three likely came from visitors to the area.

Roark said that school trustees realize that many families have plans for out-of-state travel during Spring Break and, although they advise against such travel, they have no authority to interfere with those plans.

However, everyone should be aware that Idaho Code Section 33-512(70) mandates the district to exclude from schools “pupils with contagious or infectious diseases, who are diagnosed or suspected as having a contagious or infectious disease or those who are not immune and have been exposed to a contagious or infectious disease.”

At least seven of the nine Idahoans confirmed to have coronavirus contracted it while traveling out of state, according to information provided by authorities. Authorities have not said how the other two might have gotten the disease. But they have not indicated that there is any community spread—where a virus begins circulating within a community—at this time.

Roark said the school district hopes to reopen on April 6 but that students and parents should be prepared for an extended closure if that becomes necessary.

The Kansas governor announced on Tuesday that he is closing schools in that state for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. And governors in California and Ohio have indicated they may follow the Sunflower State’s lead.

In other news:

  • Sun Valley Economic Development is working with local banks and nonprofits to identify and facilitate assistance for business and individuals affected by the coronavirus. Blaine County is not at the disaster list at this point. But SVED is working with the state to enable a disaster declaration that will give Blaine County for-profit and nonprofit businesses access to these funds.
  • Blaine County Commissioners have formally declared a Disaster Emergency in response to the global pandemic. It has closed several county buildings, including the Blaine County Annex building, which houses the DMV, Assessor, Treasurer, Prosecuting Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, Land Use & Building Services and GIS. Staff for each of the offices will handle inquiries only by telephone, email or mail. To find out contact information, visit www.blainecounty.org and click the “Government” tab.

There are exceptions.

The old Courthouse will open for scheduled public meetings and appointments. The number, frequency and duration of those meetings will be reduced.

The Judicial Building housing the District and Magistrate Courts and Court Clerks’ window where fines and fees are paid will remain open on a restricted basis.

Municipal solid waste transfer stations and Blaine County Recycling remain in operation but contact with staff onsite will be restricted.

  • The Hunger Coalition hit an all-time high on Monday, serving 131 families at its food distribution in Bellevue. The Spring Corporate Food Drive has been shelved in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Those who wish to make cash donations in lieu of material food can do so at www.thehungercoalition.org or by sending a check to 121 Honeysuckle St., Bellevue, ID 83313.
  • South Central Public Health District Public Information Officer Brianna Bodily clarified that the district will continue to provide alerts when there is a new case. But it will not deliver full press releases with details because they take up valuable time needed for other updates and investigations.
  • Bogus Basin, Brundage, Tamarack. Magic Mountain and Pomerelle ski resorts joined Sun Valley Resort in suspending skiing as the number of coronavirus cases in Idaho continued to grow. One ski area representative said he didn’t want his ski area to become a hotbed for activity, attracting people from across the state as the state’s restaurants, businesses and other activities shut down.
  • At least two legislators did not return to the legislature on Wednesday because of concerns about the coronavirus. House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel said the legislature does not have any business that necessitates the governing body staying.
  • Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced Wednesday that the state is adopting federal guidelines avoiding gatherings of 10 people or more. He is also asking people not to eat or drink in bars, restaurants and food courts but to use drive-thru or pickup options. And he’s recommending that Idahoans avoid discretionary travel and shopping.

    But he declined to ask schools and businesses to close.

  • The New York Times has reported that the federal government has warned that a pandemic could lost 18 months or longer.
  • The state has conducted 468 tests so far.

 

 

 

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