The current school year has been one with many changes and flexibility required. At the last school board meeting I shared that we are looking forward to and preparing for what we hope is a much more normal school year in 2021-2022. What exactly “normal” entails could probably mean different things to different people, but here are a few key considerations:
- The assumption is that the school year will follow the board approved calendars for traditional and year-round schools with face-to-face instruction full days, five days a week. Wednesdays will continue to be a one-hour early dismissal, as approved.
- The Legislature is not requiring that a remote option be made available, and unless there were another proclamation from the Governor requiring that remote learning happen, the district will not be offering that option. High school students do have remote classes available within the Online Learning Program, however.
- We don’t anticipate a “mask mandate” in 2021-2022 although students and staff who are more comfortable wearing face coverings would be allowed to. Obviously we do not know everything that could happen with the virus, different variants, etc.
- We will continue to encourage good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and other common sense health measures. There could be adjustments that were made during the pandemic that buildings elect to continue using. However, many things will revert to previous practice, such as elementary students eating meals in the cafeteria rather than the classroom and high school open campus being more restrictive.
- Visitors will be allowed into buildings again, fields trips will increase as venues open up, in person events will take place with fewer restrictions. All of these things are reliant on what is happening with the virus locally and more broadly.
There are likely other questions that have not been addressed in this memo, and there are still unknowns. The goal, though, is to provide as normal a school year and as much opportunity to participate in educational and activities opportunities as possible. The district will continue to consider guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Iowa Department of Public Health, Warren County Health Services, the Iowa Department of Education, the Legislature and Governor’s Office, and other entities as we make decisions. Thank you for your patience and support as we move through this time. Serving our students and families as well as possible is always the priority of our staff.
Art Sathoff, Superintendent of Schools