CRCSD students will return to in-person instruction next week

Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. — Jav Ducker/Little Village

Students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) will return to in-person learning the week of Dec. 7, the district announced on Thursday.

CRCSD began district-wide remote learning on Thursday, Nov. 12, after its two-week waiver was approved by the Department of Education. The district then applied for another waiver to extend virtual learning by another two weeks, with the possibility of students returning to in-person instruction earlier if conditions improved.

Superintendent Noreen Bush previously said the district will be paying attention to three main metrics to determine when students will be able to return to in-person learning. Those metrics included staff absences, impact on the healthcare system and Linn County’s COVID-19 positivity rate.

Thursday’s message to families indicated that conditions had improved enough for students to return to in-person learning about a week earlier than expected

• The Linn County community positivity rate decreased to 16.8%

• The CRCSD staff absenteeism rate significantly decreased. CRCSD needs healthy adults to conduct all elements of school programming (teachers, bus drivers, school meal employees, crossing guards).

• Healthcare systems are more stabilized with a decline in COVID-19 case admissions.

“CRCSD constantly monitors these three parameters and makes decisions based on the data,” the message said. “Please be prepared that changes to the in-person learning structure can change quickly.”

The specific day students can return to in-person instruction depends on the building. Students will have about two weeks of in-person instruction prior to the holiday break, which begins on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

Students who attend any of the elementary schools, Metro High School or Polk Alternative Education will resume in-person instruction on Monday, Dec. 7. Students who attend Harding Roosevelt or Wilson middle schools will also return to in-person instruction that Monday.

Students who attend Franklin or McKinley middle schools will resume in-person learning on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Students from Jefferson and Washington high schools will also begin their hybrid model learning on that Wednesday.

The remaining two schools with derecho-damaged buildings are preparing for students to return to in-person learning in the next few weeks. Taft Middle School students will return to in-person instruction on Monday, Dec. 14, and Kennedy High School will return to in-person instruction in mid-January.

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