Starting Thursday, Fruitland High School returned to full in-person instruction. The announcement was made in a letter signed by Superintendent Lyle Bayley on Wednesday morning.
“We are pleased to announce that our numbers of positive cases at the high school are now at a low level,” the letter reads. “Because of this, we will be going back to the four day per week in-person instructional model beginning Thursday, 10/15/20.”
Fruitland High School has been in hybrid instruction since Oct. 8, with half of the student body going to school on Thursday and Monday and the other half going to school on Friday and Tuesday. Students not in school spend the day taking classes online.
The change was made to return to hybrid on Oct. 7, less than a week after the school was forced to move into the “red” online level of instruction on Oct. 1. The number of positive cases that week was 23, Bayley told the Argus Observer. When Fruitland High School moved to the hybrid a week later, Bayley said the number of positive cases was down to eight.
The last time Fruitland High School moved to full in-person instruction, it did not last long: The Grizzlies first entered full in-person instruction on Sept. 17. Two weeks later, the school was closed and students moved to online classes.
On Sept. 30, the day before the high school moved to online classes, the city of Fruitland had a seven-day moving average of positive cases of COVID-19 of 5.25 (the city’s highest seven-day average was 5.375, as recorded on Aug. 28 and Aug. 31). On Tuesday, Fruitland’s seven-day average was 3.375.
According to data posted by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Fruitland High School has had 21 cases of COVID-19 overall, the middle school has reported eight cases, and the elementary school has had five.
The high school’s cases are the highest reported by the state among high schools. North Star Charter School leads the state with 30 cases, but is a K-12 school.
Payette High School has reported 16 cases, with McCain Middle School reporting five cases and Payette Primary having had two cases.
Weiser High School reported three cases, with three at the middle school. Pioneer Elementary School reported two cases and Park Intermediate had four.
New Plymouth School District has only one case reported, coming from the middle school.
Payette County remains the last county in Idaho in the “red” health alert level by a health district.
When students return to classes, they will be required to wear face coverings. This was voted on by the board on Oct. 6.
The change in the rule followed Bayley saying that teachers told him that the younger students in the district are adhering to the face covering requirement, with adherence to the rule declining with the older students. Bayley said this shows that facial coverings are slowing the spread of the virus, as the elementary school has the fewest positive cases of COVID in the district while the high school has the highest.