CRCSD applies for waiver to continue all-online learning after Thanksgiving break

Grant Wood Elementary in Cedar Rapids, 645 26th St SE. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

The Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) has applied for another waiver from the Iowa Department of Education (DOE) to extend virtual learning by another two weeks following Thanksgiving break, Superintendent Noreen Bush announced on Tuesday in a message to families.

CRCSD began district-wide remote learning on Thursday, Nov. 12, after its two-week waiver was approved by the DOE. In-person instruction was scheduled to resume on Monday, Nov. 30.

During a Board of Education meeting last week, Bush said the district will be paying attention to three main metrics to determine whether or not another waiver will be requested. Those metrics included staff absences, impact on the healthcare system and Linn County’s COVID-19 positivity rate. Bush added that the district would like to see the positivity rate go below 20 percent.

Linn County’s 14-day average positivity rate in its COVID-19 tests was 19.1 percent as of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, according to numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health. This was the first time the county’s 14-day average positivity rate was below 20 percent since Nov. 7.

Bush noted the slight decline in her message but added that “it has not been significant” and that the county has seen spikes following holidays, such as after Labor Day and Halloween.

“Additionally, the area healthcare system continues to be strained, and our CRCSD employees continue to be impacted with isolations, quarantines or positive cases,” Bush said.

If the waiver is approved by DOE, students will have all-online instruction from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, with in-person instruction scheduled to resume on Dec. 14. Bush said students might be able to return to in-person instruction by Dec. 7 if the situation improves. Families should know by Dec. 3 whether or not that will happen.

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