BOISE, Idaho (KLIX)-Idaho Governor Brad Little announced Thursday the state will remain in Stage 4 of his reopening plan as the state prepares public schools to welcome students back into the classroom.

During a press conference the governor hailed the local approach option as means to respond to the coronavirus as certain areas of the state continues to see elevated virus activity, especially emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms. Overall state health officials said cases have been falling, but from high numbers.

Also during the Thursday press conference the Gov. Little reiterated his call for students to be back in the classroom later this month. He said the longer students are out of the classroom the wider the achievement gap gets.

Gov. Little announced millions of dollars are being used to help schools create safe environments for students come back to:

  • $10 million for additional masks, gloves, sanitizer, and plexiglass for Idaho schools
  • $48 million will help bridge the “digital divide” and equip schools with the computers, connectivity, and other resources to ensure successful remote learning
  • $21 million toward COVID-19 testing for teachers and school staff
  • $3 million to increase testing lab turnaround time and capacity – as well as lab upgrades – to help get test results for teachers and school staff as quickly as possible
  • $3 million to leverage Idaho pharmacies in testing efforts to help quickly produce testing results for teachers, school staff, and families in rural Idaho, where the majority of Idaho school districts are located.

School districts across the state have been tasked with coming up with their own plans with suggested guidelines from the Idaho State Department of Education and the State Board of Education.

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