CRESCO - The Iowa Department of Education adopted Return-to-Learn guidance for schools to have in place by July 1, 2020 that will show plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
At the June 15 Howard-Winneshiek School board meeting, Supt. Ted Ihns explained, “The Return-to-Learn Plan is a requirement from the State of Iowa. It wants school districts to have three plans in place to effectively provide educational opportunities no matter if school can be held in our buildings or not.”
The state wanted districts to take into account:
~ Ensuring that remote learning options are available for all students;
~ Planning to help students catch up with the learning they may have missed during school closures;
~ Integrating public health strategies into Iowa’s schools;
~ Enabling schools to move between on-site and remote learning as needed; and
~ Helping the Department and partners at Iowa’s area education agencies (AEAs) understand how best to support schools.
Districts were also given the option of opening before Aug. 24, the earliest schools can begin classes this fall. Ihns said How-Winn will not begin early. The extra days of class will not count towards the required minimum instructional time of 180 days or 1,080 hours. It is hard to plan for opening early when classes may not even be held in person. The superintendent stated only one school in the area is starting early, and that is only by five days.
Three plans 
The plans are all required to be submitted as part of HWCSD Return-to-Learn Plan and will need to be approved by the Iowa Department of Education.
• Required Continuous Learning
This format would be used in an emergency situation in which it is not possible to have students in school. 
It is a remote learning option, and it could be a combination of on-line, home delivery or pick-up educational materials. 
• Hybrid Learning 
Educational services may be offered both remotely and in school locations.
• On-Site Learning
Students would learn in brick-and-mortar buildings, Crestwood K-8 and high school only if it is deemed safe by public health officials, and the district has actively planned for appropriate health and safety measure.
Ihns stated the last, On-Site Learning, is the one most Iowans are hoping will take place. It will get students, teachers, staff and parents back to a regular school routine. “We want everyone to be safe. We may have some students with masks and some without. We may have to take temperatures every day. We won’t know that until it gets closer to the first day, at least two weeks before Aug. 24.
Around 30 staff members have been working to come up with the plan, which will be introduced. They were divided into different committees including Leadership, Infrastructure, Data, Health and Safety, Iowa Academic Standards, Social-Emotional-Behavioral Health and Equity.
The plan for Howard-Winneshiek will be revealed in early July.

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