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ICCSD gets to move all classes online as cases of COVID-19 surge in Johnson County (Updated)


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Update: The Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors approved moving the district’s school to all online instruction at its meeting on Tuesday evening. The change will take place on Monday, Nov. 16, following the recommendation of the district’s administration. Interim Superintendent Matt Degner said waiting until Monday would give parents a chance to arranged for childcare and give teachers more time to plan for the transition to all online.

 

On Tuesday afternoon, the Iowa Department of Education (DOE) approved the Iowa City Community School District’s request to move to all online classes for two weeks. ICCSD’s request was one of 13 requests to move to primarily or all-online learning approved on Tuesday.

Ninety of the state’s 99 counties have 14-day average positivity rates of 15 percent or higher in their COVID-19 tests, as reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health. That, along with an elevated absentee rate due to COVID-19, are DOE’s requirements for granting a waiver that allows schools to offer less than 50 percent in-person instruction.

Johnson County’s 14-day positivity average on Tuesday afternoon was 16.2 percent, according to IDPH, and the department reported 219 new cases of the virus in the 24-hour period that ended at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

ICCSD Interim Superintendent Matt Degner informed district families on Monday the district had applied for a waiver to move to all-online instruction for two weeks due to the surge of new cases of COVID-19 in the area.

DOE also provided a waiver to go remote to the Clear Creek-Amana School District. The district covers parts of Johnson County and Iowa County, which has a 14-day positivity average of 19.6 percent.

The formal decision to move to all online classes will be made at the ICCSD Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday evening. The meeting, which will be held via Zoom, begins at 5 p.m.

On Monday afternoon, the Cedar Rapids Community School District applied for a waiver to move its Johnson STEAM Academy to all online classes. That waiver was among the 13 granted on Tuesday afternoon. In an email to district families on Tuesday, CRCSD Superintendent Noreen Bush said the district was applying for a waiver to move all its classes online for two weeks.

DOE has not issued a decision on CRCSD’s district-wide request yet, but on Tuesday afternoon, Linn County had 14-day positivity average of 22.8 percent, according to IDPH. Nearly 6 percent of the district’s staff was on leave due to the virus as well.

If it is granted the waiver, CRCSD plans to go all online on Thursday.


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