Cedar Rapids schools exploring three possible plans for upcoming school year


The Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) is looking at three possible options for the upcoming school year and plans to make a final decision later this month.

All Iowa school districts were required to submit a Return to Learn plan to the Iowa Department of Education by July 1. Four superintendents, including CRCSD superintendent Noreen Bush, put out a statement on July 1 with a few general updates for families.

“Our goal is to bring students back to school as soon as possible,” was the first update from the superintendents of CRCSD, Marion Independent School District, College Community School District and Linn-Mar Community School District.

Among the other updates was how the districts will be collaborating with Linn County Public Health to support their plans and personal protective equipment recommendations for face-to-face instruction. LCPH Clinical Services Supervisor Heather Meador said during a press conference on July 1 that the department is working on guidance for schools and will share that later this week.

The four superintendents also said they will prioritize the safety of students, families and staff when making decisions.

“We realize there is much unrest with the ‘unknown’ and that our community would like information as soon as possible about the format in which students will be educated when we return in August,” the statement from Superintendents Bush, Janelle Brouwer, Douglas Wheeler and Shannon Bisgard said. “We will communicate with our families and community as soon as possible with those decisions. In the coming weeks, our districts will be sending additional communications with further details to our school districts’ stakeholders.”

CRCSD has plans for in-person classes, online teaching and a hybrid model of classroom and online learning. Details for each plan and whether or not face masks will be required have not been announced yet. The Iowa City Community School District announced earlier this week they will require face coverings for students and staff.

The school year will stay the same length, according to CRCSD’s Return to Learn plan. The 2020-21 school year is scheduled to begin on Aug. 24 with no additional school days or hours added beyond what is required.

The district plans to get feedback from families through a survey on July 13, according to information on its Return to Learn website. Then a week later, on July 22 and 23, the district is scheduled to hold town halls to share information with families.

CRCSD said it will tell families at the end of July or in early August which plan will be implemented. Bush told the Gazette she hopes to share specifics by July 27.

The new school year is scheduled to start on Aug. 24.

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