Online students will have to return to school buildings for statewide standardized tests (Updated)

Iowa City Community School District — Adam Burke/Little Village

Update: On Tuesday, the Iowa City Community School District sent out an email “intended to clarify” the email it sent on Monday to families of students in the district’s Online Learning Program regarding the standardized test students in Grades 3-11 are required to take. There will be an online version of the ISASP test conducted via Zoom during the last two weeks of May, the new email explained. According to the district, the online test “[s]hould only be used for students who cannot test on-site.”

When she pushed the Iowa Legislature to pass a bill requiring school districts to offer 100 percent in-person instruction, regardless of the level of COVID-19 activity in their counties, Gov. Reynolds said parents concerned about the possibility of virus spread in classrooms could still opt for all-online instruction. But as Iowa City Community School District families who chose the district’s Online Learning Program (OLP) learned on Monday, there is an exception in April that will require all students to be in school buildings.

The state expects OLP students from 3rd to 11th grade to take the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) in person, ICCSD informed families and students via email on Monday. The in-person requirement applies to all school districts across the state.

“All students in Grades 3-11 are required to participate in ISASP testing,” the district said. “Students in these grades will take the Reading, Math, and Language Art/Writing tests. In addition, students in grades 5, 8, and 10 will take the Science test. “

The testing will occur between April 19 and May 14. “Students will need to attend 2-4 consecutive days of testing,” the district said.

ICCSD’s email included a schedule for the tests.

• Students in Grades 9-11 will take the tests on:

o Tuesday, April 20, 9:00-11:15 Reading and Math
o Wednesday, April 21, 9:00-11:15 Language Arts/Writing
o Wednesday, April 21, 12:45-2:15 10th Grade Science

• Students in Grades 7-8 will take the tests on:

o Monday, April 19, 9:00-10:15 Reading
o Tuesday, April 20, 9:00-10:15 Math
o Wednesday, April 21, 9:00-11:15 Language Arts/Writing
o Thursday, April 22, 9:00-10:15 8th Grade Science

• Students in Grades 3-6 will take the tests on:

o Monday, May 3, 12:30-3:00 3rd Grade Reading and Math
o Tuesday, May 4, 12:30-3:00 3rd Grade Language Arts/Writing
o Thursday, May 6, 12:30-3:00 4th Grade Reading and Math
o Friday, May 7, 12:30-3:00 4th Grade Language Arts/Writing
o Monday, May 10, 12:30-3:00 5th Grade Reading and Math
o Tuesday, May 11, 12:30-3:00 5th Grade Language Arts/Writing
o Wednesday, May 12, 12:30-2:00 5th Grade Science
o Thursday, May 13, 12:30-3:00 6th Grade Reading and Math
o Friday, May 14, 12:30-3:00 6th Grade Language Arts/Writing

Students will have to be present for the entire testing session, even if they finish their tests before the end of the session.

“Parents will need to drop their student off and return at the end of the testing session,” according to the ICCSD email. “Students must bring their school issued device, fully charged, and a power cord for testing.”

The email also suggests students bring a water bottle.

“Testing rooms will follow COVID procedures that will allow for minimal interactions,” the district said. “Students will be physically distanced to the extent possible, students and staff will wear masks, and the area will be sanitized before and after each session.”

Families with OLP students are being asked to sign up their students for testing sessions by April 7.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has decided not to collect information on COVID-19 in schools, but ICCSD has set up its own COVID-19 information dashboard, providing information regarding the number of both students and staff who have tested positive or are quarantining following exposure to someone with the virus.

“The number of students and staff who’ve tested positive for the disease or been asked to quarantine after being exposed to someone who’s tested positive has ticked back up in recent weeks, too, rising nearly 70% and 150% since fully in-person learning resumed, respectively,” the Press-Citizen reported on Monday.

According to the ICCSD dashboard, as of 3 p.m. on Monday, 89 students were considered COVID-19 positive, with 16 of those students testing positive and 73 being presumed positive. Those 89 students represent 0.6 percent of the district’s total student body.

Currently, 308 students, or 2.07 percent of the total student body, are quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19.

According to the dashboard, two ICCSD staff members were considered COVID-19 positive as of Tuesday afternoon — one tested positive, the other is presumed positive — and 13 staff members are currently quarantining due to exposure to the virus.

Teachers and other school staff became eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations on Feb. 1, and by the beginning of March, all the teachers and staff who chose to be vaccinated had their first dose. Second doses of the vaccines should finish being administered by the end of March.

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