On Saturday, August 15th, Alzar School welcomed our 17th semester of students. Although Opening Day is always filled with bustling energy, this year, more than most, we were especially excited to see students arrive on our campus in Idaho. In four short months, Alzar School has thought innovatively and creatively, conversing and consulting with experts along the way, to come up with a robust COVID-19 operating plan (see an overview of Alzar School’s COVID-19 operating plan here) that would allow for in-person education. We know that, currently, we cannot fully escape the threat of the COVID-19 virus; however, over the past few months, we have undertaken infrastructure additions, implemented scheduling adaptations, and enacted programmatic modifications to diminish risk in order to keep our students, staff and community healthy.
As plans emerged to move forward with an in-person semester this fall, we knew that certain infrastructure additions would have to be made. With the support of Alzar School’s Board of Directors and the help of our Fund-A-Need fundraising efforts, we dove into projects. When possible, we've moved classes, study halls, and activities outdoors. In order to make this happen, our grounds crew quickly got to work -- building five mobile outdoor whiteboards, cutting classroom seating stumps, hoisting shade tarp structures and crafting lap desks so that students can effectively learn in these new spaces. In June, with just under two months to go until Opening Day, Alzar School began construction on a new and ninth yurt, the Selway River Yurt. This most recent addition, along with the Salmon River
Yurt and two smaller infirmaries, can serve as isolation spaces for any ill students. Within regular living yurts, we added floor length curtains to help curb the spread of airborne pathogens. Showers were added to the yurts to minimize traffic and cross-yurt contamination in the bathhouse. Furthermore, CEA (Community and Experiential Advisor) yurts have full bathroom additions to again minimize exposure between “households” or yurt pods. Although Alzar School is a small community, we’ve taken extra precautions to segment students and staff with additional infrastructure.
Operations and Adaptations
in the COVID-19 era
ALZAR SCHOOL VISION
ALZAR SCHOOL QUICK FACTS
Alzar School's first semester program opened in Fall 2012 with 12 students.
Alzar School holds permits to operate expeditions in the Boise, Payette, Nez Perce, Clearwater, Shasta, Trinity, Kalamath, Salmon, and Challis National Forests, Owyhee River and Canyonlands, and the Jenemini, Tomango and Chacabuco sectors of Parque Patagonia in Chile.