BOISE — It will be a while longer before students in Idaho are returning to class, as the State Board of Education ordered a “soft closure” of schools that will run through April 20.

A soft closure means that the schools will remain closed to students, but will remain open for staff members, allowing teachers and administrators some leeway when it comes to distance learning plans during the extended closure.

On the other side of the Snake River, all Oregon schools will remain closed until April 28, which was mandated by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on March 17.

Local schools in both Oregon and Idaho have been working to create distance learning plans for students, who will be missing at least a full month of in-class instruction. Brown mentioned in a press conference after her executive order that the priority right now is to get the senior class graduated.

Previously, Little had announced that the state would leave closures up to the individual school districts. Fruitland and Payette School Districts, as well as Treasure Valley Classical Academy, announced on March 16 that they would be closing their schools starting on March 18. The next day, New Plymouth and Weiser School Districts issued the same closure for their schools.

The school closure extension does not mention athletics or other extracurricular activities. Oregon athletics will be suspended until schools reopen.

Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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