NAMPA — Nampa Christian Schools saw between 55-73% of its students return in the three weeks it reopened its campuses before the end of the academic year.
The private school opened its two campuses serving preschool to high school students May 4. The final day of school for students was May 21, according to Superintendent Greg Wiles.
Of the school's approximately 730 students, Wiles said about 73% of its elementary students returned when the school reopened, and about 55% of the school's middle school and high school students returned. About 65% of preschool students also returned. Wiles said Nampa Christian Schools continued to offer distance learning for any students who preferred it.
Before May 4, Wiles estimated 60-80% of students would return. While the reopening numbers were slightly lower than his original prediction, Wiles said some parents reached out to him to say they were supportive of the school reopening, but they were keeping their students home because they'd gotten used to distance learning and there were only a few weeks of school left.
Nampa Christian Schools took several measures to ensure the safety of students and staff after reopening. Both campuses shortened to five-hour days, and did not offer busing or shuttling, Wiles said. Passing periods at the secondary school campus were also shortened, and students ate lunch in their classrooms, he said. Their desks were spaced out as much as possible.
Wiles said the reopening went well. At first, he said staff were cleaning the school a bit too much, and the smell of some of the chemicals were giving people headaches. After scaling back, he said there weren't many other issues.
"It was fantastic to have closure on the year," Wiles said.
Nampa Christian Schools plans to continue its summer programs with some of the same safety measures in place. Being a smaller school, Wiles said it's easier for staff to enforce social distancing. Its summer club only has about 20 students enrolled so far, he said, so staff should be able to keep the students spread out.
According to a Bozeman Daily Chronicle report, Montana schools that opened the same time Nampa Christian Schools did found that reopening has helped staff and students better prepare for the fall if similar measures are necessary.
Wiles said Nampa Christian Schools staff have not started planning for the fall yet, but he is confident the school will be able to reopen its doors again. He said they may continue to offer some distance learning if needed, but he is against keeping distance learning as a long-term option as it adds too much stress for teachers.