Return to Learn Update: July 14, 2020


Return to Learn

July 14, 2020

Dear MISD Families,  

I want to extend a thank you to students and families for your understanding and patience as we work on planning for the 2020-2021 school year. This note is intended to provide you with an initial overview of some of the plans in place for the fall. More information will be coming in late July and again in early August as we continue to monitor health guidance and plan accordingly. Flexibility and responsiveness will be ongoing themes for the year, so thank you for understanding that much of our planning is scenario based and we will need to remain flexible and ready to transition between instructional delivery models this year.  Additionally, it is important to note that, although precautions will be taken, we are not able to provide an environment entirely free from risk of exposure due to COVID-19. Health and safety for our students, staff, and community remains a priority, so your role in supporting the mitigation efforts is also imperative.

Thank you to families for your participation and input in the survey regarding the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Your feedback helped to guide our planning efforts for the upcoming year. Of those who responded, over 90% indicated that your child(ren) participated in continuous learning. With regard to barriers, the most common barriers included: lack of student motivation, lack of clarity in expectations, lack of access to a device. Of the respondents, 80% indicated feeling supported by MISD during closure (responses of 4 or 5 on a 5 point scale).

Given your input and guidance from the Iowa Department of Education as well as public health, MISD has plans in place for 3 possible models of instruction for the upcoming year: on-site, remote, and hybrid.  Per Iowa Code, regardless of delivery model, learning will be required for all students in the upcoming year.  It is our intent and hope to begin the year on-site, with mitigation efforts in place. However, we recognize that for health-related concerns some students may be unable to return to on-site learning and some families may not yet feel comfortable in sending your child(ren), regardless of the mitigation efforts in place, due to COVID-19 related concerns. We will be providing online programming in situations such as these where remote learning is necessary, and more details will be coming regarding this option in the upcoming weeks. Additionally, next week we will be sending a survey regarding whether you are intending to send your child(ren) for on-site or will be requesting online instructional delivery, although your initial decision on this does not need to be final yet next week. It is important to note that online programming will be focused on essential learning standards, will be provided by the district through a subscription based program, and will not mirror the on-site option. Additionally, for our high school students, we will be expanding access to online courses as an option for 1 or more courses for those with health needs or who have demonstrated prior success with online courses (i.e.- successful course completion during 4th quarter of 2019-2020, prior success with APEX courses).

Mitigation Strategies for 2020-2021 due to COVID-19 (for additional detail see links below):

*Health screening: Daily health screenings are an essential part of prevention.  Take your child(ren)’s temperature each morning.  Students with a temperature above 100 or with symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath should remain at home.  Additionally, students who are at school and are identified as having related symptoms will be required to be picked up from school to return home.

*Transportation:  During the 2020-2021 school year we would encourage students to walk or bike to school or have parents transport to the extent possible.  Buses will not allow for social distancing, therefore masks will be recommended for all students riding a bus.

*Health habits & prevention: 

Frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer.  Individual hand sanitizer for your child is encouraged

Face masks and/or face shields are recommended, especially on buses, for arrival/dismissal, during hallway transitions, or similar areas where group size is larger or social distancing of 6’ is not possible

Stay home if sick

Increased spacing to the extent possible

*Building protocols:

Increased cleaning protocols

Limit cross-group interactions

Limit shared materials

Directional hallways or increased hallway spacing (no locker use where hallways require increased space)

No use of water fountains other than bottle-refilling stations.  Please plan to send a water bottle with your child.

Field trips will be limited to virtual opportunities

*Parents/community:

Parent meetings will be held virtually to the extent possible

Volunteers/visitors will be limited to virtual participation (read to your child’s class via Zoom for example)

Student drop off/pick-up outside of the building, parents should not enter the building

We understand that having your child unable to attend school presents challenges for families. Although we understand the difficulties this year may pose for families, we appreciate your support and cooperation in considering alternative arrangements that you will put in place if your child needs to remain home due to illness as well as if school would need to close for a period of time as directed due to COVID-19.

Linked below you may access additional information regarding MISD’s Return to Learn. Please keep in mind that these documents will continue to be updated as the Iowa Department of Education (DE), the Iowa Department of Public Health, Linn County Public Health, and Governor Reynolds provide ongoing updates.

*MISD Return to Learn- 

MISD Return to Learn Guidebook (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LFE2XY6bmEIyw82YHvtp0B7dVRpjTKdaIMrkJBp5N4A/edit?usp=sharing

Plan submission to Iowa Department of Education (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aivdpOk5BqPFlPzQ5AwbHFbseCTBk9JI/view?usp=sharing )

Additional reminders:

*Online registration will begin in late July, with more information coming. The registration process will be able to be completed entirely online.  However, we will also have a face to face option on August 7 for those who may need assistance.   

*Registration for busing will also take place during the registration process. 

Please remember that our plan to return to on-site instruction in August is subject to change. Based on the guidance we receive from the Governor, the Iowa Department of Education, and Linn County Public Health, there may be a need to modify the plan. As we update and change the plan, we will communicate these changes. Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to welcoming students back.

Respectfully,

Janelle Brouwer, Superintendent