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House Bill 175 makes its way to the Governor’s desk; what this would mean for local school districts

Bill would prioritize in-person learning
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 5:49 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The past year has been challenging for school districts across the country having to make decisions on whether to offer in-person learning, a hybrid model, or online only.

House Bill 175 is on its way to Governor Brad Little’s desk, after passing the house and the senate which would prioritize in-person learning and give school districts more control if there were to be another pandemic.

“It prioritizes in-person learning as the first method of learning for kids in Idaho, versus an afterthought,” said the superintendent of public instruction, Sherri Ybarra.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, school districts across the state had to adjust their learning model to try to keep people safe, and this bill would emphasize the importance of in-person learning if a future emergency were to occur.

“What this bill does is, it says no more learning loss, but as we move forward into any emergency, whether it’s a pandemic, whether it’s an accident that prevents safely transporting kids to school or black ice,” said Ybarra. If there is an emergency declared and we can’t get kids to school safely, then that’s understood, but if not, then kids have the right to in-person learning.”

The Twin Falls Public School District superintendent says the past year has been difficult for parents, teachers and students. He believes this bill aligns with their philosophy.

“We believe in-person instruction is the best way to deliver instruction for kids, the bill does continue to allow for local control, so that local school boards can continue to make decisions when necessary,” said Brady Dickinson, the Twin Falls School District Superintendent.

Dickinson says if passed, the bill would be good for all school districts.

“It does recognize that in-person instruction is the preferred model, and so I think reaffirming that is good because again I think in talking with most districts, we all believe that in-person learning is the best route,” said Dickinson.

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