Local schools’ Return to Learn plans

CRESCO - At a press release on July 30, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gave clear instructions for schools to finalize their Return to Learn plans.
Basically, schools are to have in-person classes unless county data for COVID-19 is on the rise.
If the county’s positivity rate remains from 0-5% on average over 14 days, students should be attending classes at a school building.
When the positivity rate is 6-14% over the past 14 days, students still attend school at a brick-and-mortar building, with stricter guidelines.
If the rate positivity rate is 15-20% and there are is also 10% absenteeism for students, schools can go to a hybrid learning system.
Once the positivity rate has gone above 20%, the guidance is to go to remote or virtual learning, but that must be approved by the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health.
On Thursday, July 30, Howard-Winneshiek Community School District sent correspondence to families about options and expectations for the start of the 2020-21 school year.
School districts in Iowa received money from the CARES Act. Supt. Ted Ihns stated, “How-Winn received $135,000, which is based on 70% of Title I money that the district received for the 2019-20 school year. The money is and will be spent on COVID-19-related expenses and does not need to be completely spent until Sept. 30, 2022.”
At the July 13 school board meeting, he noted families with children in school were sent a survey asking if they wanted to have school in a brick-and-mortar building or combination of that and on-line learning. Four hundred one families out of 632 returned the survey by July 13 with 80% voting for going back to the brick-and-mortar building — some without and some with restrictions.
Families can choose in-school or on-line learning options. Families will have to agree to a full semester of virtual learning, with attendance being taken and work completed. 
Both in-school and on-line guidelines can be found on page A9. Some of the major points include:
• Classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, Aug. 24, with safety precautions in place for students and staff. Classes will be held Monday through Friday.
• Students and staff are strongly recommended to wear a face covering. The district will provide one mask per student and one mask and face shield for staff members.
• Students and staff need to have their temperatures checked at home. They should stay home if above 100.4ºF.
• Do not attend school if showing symptoms of COVID-19.
• Breakfast, lunch, hallway procedures and recess will be determined by social distancing guidelines. In addition, classrooms will be arranged to keep students and staff safe.
• Buses and school grounds, including playground equipment, will be disinfected daily. Bus riders will wear masks.
Fall sports are being played as normal with guidelines to adhere to.
Notre Dame
Notre Dame Catholic School will not officially have an approved Return to Learn plan until the board meets on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
It does however have some infection prevention plans.
They include:
• Classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, Aug. 24, with safety precautions in place for students and staff. Classes will be held Monday through Friday.
• Grouping students into pods for social distancing — Pre-school; K-1; 2-3; and 4-6.
• Masks are required for visitors, but not for students, unless they ride a How-Winn bus.
• Classrooms will be disinfected routinely.
• Student water bottles are required.
• Families will be notified of any positive COVID-19 case.
• The student sick policy has been updated.
Riceville Community School District adjusted its start date to Monday, Aug. 24 instead of Wednesday, Aug. 26. 
•The school will have an 80-20 model, with school being held in-person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be participating at home, and staff will work with individual students and connecting with the on-line students.
• Masks will be required anywhere that social distancing cannot be practiced. Students can bring their own masks, or the school will provide them.
Decorah Schools plan to start classes on Aug. 24. Six hundred families responded to surveys on preferences for learning. It was noted 67.1% of families want on-site learning with 27.6 wanting a combination of on-site and virtual learning.
• Families choosing virtual learning will have to agree to a full semester, with attendance being taken and demonstrating weekly progress.
• The classes will be divided into two groups, red and blue, with red attending class on-site Monday and Tuesday and every other Wednesday. The blue group will attend Thursday and Friday and every other Wednesday. This will take place from the start of school until Sept 25, when it could move to full on-site.
• All staff and students will be required to wear a face covering if six feet of physical distancing cannot take place.
Northeast Iowa Community College will continue to offer alternative learning options, such as online, hybrid and online synchronous learning formats. The plan is to resume the option of face-to-face classes starting the week of Aug. 20. NICC will pivot from that option, if necessary, based on ever-changing safety recommendations. The hands-on portion of all career and technical education courses will remain face-to-face.
“We must be patient and cautious in our reopening plan. My philosophy is to open up slowly and methodically in an effort to avoid taking steps backwards. Be assured that providing a safe environment in our top priority,” said NICC President Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D.
 Face coverings are required for all people who are inside any NICC location. For ongoing information about the college’s phased reopening and safety measures with COVID-19, visit www.nicc.edu/covid19.
Turkey Valley
Trinity Catholic School
Trinity Catholic School in Protivin has released its Return to Learn plan for families. 
The school year will begin on Monday, Aug. 24 with students attending classes face-to-face with regular school hours and attendance expected.
Staff are also preparing for a combination of at-home and on-site learning, as well as total virtual learning if the state mandates it. In all aspects, proof of school work being done is required.
Principal Brown described the health and safety measures being practiced, including:
• Screening temperatures upon arrival at school
• All staff are required to wear a mask/shield, and students need to wear a mask during the day, including on the bus. Recess, P.E. and lunch will be the only places where masks may not have to be worn.
Parents should have children practice wearing masks, which will be purchased by families.
• Cleaning and disinfecting will be done [at least] daily. Hand sanitizing stations will be accessible for adults and children.
• Only adults can serve meals, and there will be no seconds for students. Fifth and sixth grade students will eat lunch in a classroom by the office.
• Social distancing will be practiced.
• Children should bring their own water bottles from home. No fountains will be available for use.
• Staff will watch for symptoms during the day, and families should keep their children home if:
~ Temp above 100.3ºF
~ Persistant cough
~ Difficulty breathing 
~ Other signs of COVID-19
Brown stated, “Our local return-to-learn committee will continue to review this information in order to welcome your child back to Trinity Catholic School to continue their spiritual, social, emotional and intellectual growth as safely as possible.”

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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