Panhandle Health District provides community spread categories for area school districts

| August 6, 2020 1:00 AM

Panhandle Health District has begun its official weekly assessment and reporting of categories of community spread for use by school districts in Kootenai, Bonner, Benewah, Boundary, and Shoshone counties in their decision-making processes and operations for COVID-19.

The categories are defined in the Idaho Back to School Framework, as approved by the State Board of Education in early July, and indicate what level of in-person learning and response is recommended, PHD officials said in a press release.

The categories referenced are only recommendations for the week indicated; final decisions are made by local school boards. Private and charter schools are recommended to use the category based on the address of their facility and associated school district boundary.

All schools in the five northern counties are rated in Category 2.

The metrics used to make the category determinations are based off of the Levels of Community Spread for Idaho Back-to-School Framework.

Weekly assessments of community spread will be updated on Thursdays at If category designations are adjusted, then schools and families should expect transition time as changes may or may not be immediate.

• Category 1: No community transmission

• Category 2: Mild to moderate community transmission

• Category 3: Substantial community transmission

If you have questions regarding COVID-19 in our area, call the Panhandle Health District hotline at 877-415-5225. The hotline is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. For up-to-date data on COVID-19 in our area, visit For data on COVID-19 in Idaho, visit