Monday, October 26, 2020
Coronavirus Cancels Sun Valley Film Festival and More
The March calendar for Sun Valley was wiped nearly clean after one event after another cancelled on Thursday.
Friday, March 13, 2020


The Sun Valley Film Festival was cancelled Thursday, joining hundreds of events being cancelled across the country because of the coronavirus.

Camp Rainbow Gold’s Share Your Heart Ball, scheduled for Saturday night at Sun Valley Resort, has been cancelled, as has the Sun Valley Suns hockey games against their rivals the Jackson Moose.

Sun Valley Resort is offering guests the chance to ride the gondola by themselves to avoid contact with other guests.And, while it hopes to remain open through Easter Sunday, it has cancelled this weekend's Kindercup, the Ester Egg Hunt, Dollar Days, Baldy Bash and its apres ski concerts in an effort to limit hosted gatherings at the resort.

It was business at usual at Sun Valley Community School on Thursday. But the school will test remote learning next week, in the event it has to close.

Sun Valley Opera announced that live simulcast screenings of MET Opera performances, including “The Flying Dutchman,” have been cancelled through March 31. The U.S. Ski Hall of Fame has cancelled its induction ceremonies and the International History Skiing Association its gathering.

And Sun Valley Community School is telling students to stay at home on March 18 so it can test remote teaching and learning capabilities, should the school need to close.

And just like that what had been the busiest March calendar in Sun Valley history has been wiped clean.

  • The cancellation of the Sun Valley Film Festival joined the cancellation of the Big Sky conference championship tournament and postponement of the Treefort Music Festival in Boise. As of this morning Idaho remains one of four states in the country with no cases of coronavirus.

    Film Festival Director Teddy Grennan said the decision to cancel the Sun Valley Film Festival was not  made lightly as it generates more than $5 million of economic impact to Sun Valley. But, he said, festival organizers made the decision to support the global and local effort to combat the pandemic.

    “The health and safety of our community and all of our participants is our top priority, and we know this is the right and responsible decision,” he said, adding the festival will respond to pass and ticket holders as soon as possible.

  • The decision to postpone the Share Your Heart Ball, which raises money for a summer camp for children with cancer, was not taken lightly, either, said Elizabeth Lizberg, executive director of Camp Rainbow Gold. Organizers were looking forward to highlighting efforts to build a new camp near Fairfield. Among them the decision of Nancy and Rich Robbins to pledge the land for the new camp, an "angel builder" from Boise's pledge to build all 14 of the camper cabins and a pledge from Blue Cross of Idaho to Build the Health Center..

    “But health and safety are our top priorities and throughout this developing situation we have always been committed to following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, the State of Idaho and our partners,” she said.

    Lizberg said that many of the guests who planned to attend the ball have already arrived in the Wood River Valley and encouraged them to support the ball’s sponsors and local businesses.

  • "Sun Valley Resort has really taken care of us," she said. "We have always been overwhelmed by the support from this community and this year has been no different. We hope to reschedule. In the meantime, we have to put our focus on making it possible for kids to continue to come to camp."

  • Sun Valley Community School Head of School Ben Pettit sent a note to school families, noting that the school will test its ability to deliver curriculum and programs remotely on Wednesday, March 18. Students will participate in school from home on that day.

    Many schools have closed without having the opportunity to test remote teaching capabilities, he noted. The exercise will allow the school to trouble shoot the process and collect feedback from teachers, students and parents to make necessary adjustments should that it be necessary to close the school.

    Pettit said the school’s Crisis Management Team has outlined three levels of operations and created protocols for each level.

    Right now, he said, the school is operating at Level One with normal or slight increases in absences. Level Two would involve the school remaining open with significant staff and student absences as people self-quarantine following travel to areas of concern. Gatherings such as sporting events, outdoor trips and performances might be postponed, modified or canceled.

    Level Three would go into effect if coronavirus cases are confirmed at school or in the Wood River Valley. The campus would be closed in consultation with public health officials.

    “According to the CDC, early school closures are one of the best indicators of a community’s resilience and ability to recover during an outbreak,” Pettit wrote. “Faculty and staff members are creating plans that would allow for continued instruction remotely. The school will work with families to address technology needs if a closure becomes necessary.”

    Sun Valley Community School is also urging families to be mindful about travel during spring break and the impact it might have on the overall health of the school and Sun Valley community. Those traveling to high-exposure areas will be asked to self-quarantine away from campus for at least two weeks to limit potential exposures for the community.

  • A number of Blaine County School District parents are urging that school district’s students and staff who travel out of the country or to states where there is a declared state of emergency to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return, as well. If necessary, they urged, postpone the resumption of school for two weeks and extend the school year into the summer.

    Board President Keith Roark said that two trips planned by student groups over spring break have been cancelled. And teachers and staff will monitor all students for flu-like symptoms when they return from spring break, possibly with digital thermometers. "The district has no authority to restrict our students and their families from any travel plans they may have for sspring break. However the South Central Health District has primary responsibility for medical emergences and we are cooperating and coordinating with them and other county/municipal authorities to stay on top of all developments," he added.

  • Sun Valley Company announced Thursday that it is increasing sterilization efforts in the gondolas to add an extra measure of safety for guests. If guests wish to distance themselves from other guests, they can request to ride the gondolas by themselves.

    The resort is adding extra hand-washing supplies and increasing cleaning and disinfecting protocols throughout the resort, as well.

    Resort officials said they thoroughly sanitize each room after a guest has checked out, which includes using single-use gloves for housekeeping staff. The resort is also educating employees on COVID-19 awareness.

  • Sun Valley Bridge club organizers announced they would ask bridge players to leave if they show any signs of illness. Bridge players will wipe tables, chairs and counters before each game with Virex, a product that reportedly kills the coronavirus. In addition, the YMCA will provide hand sanitizer, “whatever the price, as long as it’s available in the marketplace.”

    “We ask that all players wash their hands before and after each game, as well as during the game, if possible,” organizers wrote to players. “We will no longer serve snacks. We will hold bridge games, as long as the YMCA remains open.”

  • South Central Public Health District addressed the coronavirus before first responders, ambulance contractors and elected officials on Wednesday, said Blaine County Commissioner Jacob Greenberg. Commissioner Angenie McCleary will lead a COVID-19 Committee to track directives.
  • St. Luke’s hospitals have been collecting samples to send to the Idaho State Lab for testing. As of Thursday afternoon, none had come back positive. Of 48 monitored, 37 are no longer being monitored, said Joy Prudek, spokesperson for St. Luke’s Wood River.


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