Please view this video published by Superintendent Art Sathoff for an update on our Return-to-Learn plan:
Transcript of the video:
Good afternoon, this is Indianola Community School District Superintendent Art Sathoff with another Return to Learn update. I am going to try to do shorter, more frequent updates since there are so many elements to the planning. I encourage you to visit www.indianola.k12.ia.us for updates, too.
Indianola CSD will begin the school year in a hybrid model of continuous learning. Students may attend school on campus for face to face instruction five days per week. They will be dismissed 90 minutes early each day. The early dismissal time will be used for independent learning tasks as assigned by the teacher, retake/redo learning, or extension activities and/or studying. This is reflective of a “flipped” classroom. Students may also choose to learn remotely five days per week. During the 90 minute early dismissal period each day, teachers will engage in synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and they will be available for “office hours” to support student learning. Learning materials will be updated daily on teachers’ Class Pages.
Parents will be receiving a simple form to declare what learning option they want for their students to begin the school year. Circumstances could necessitate a change, but people will be expected to commit to either on site or remote learning long-term.
Besides the learning options, another important board decision was made at the last board meeting regarding the use of face coverings. All staff will wear face coverings when physical distancing can’t be achieved. Students in grades 6-12 will wear face coverings when physical distancing can’t be achieved. Face coverings are not required for younger students but are strongly encouraged. Medical and religious exemptions will be allowed for those required but unable to wear face coverings.
The term “face covering” is intentionally chosen. The district plans to provide students required to wear face coverings with two washable masks, but they could elect to provide their own face covering, which would allow the use of neck gaiters, too. For people concerned about comfort and/or additional face touching with masks, this might be a good alternative. Clear face shields could be employed as well. Staff could use masks, clear face shields, or both in combination and will have PPE provided by the district as well. The phrasing “when physical distancing can’t be achieved” is also intentionally used. Students will not be allowed to make that determination; staff supervising them will. What that allows for, though, is a potential break from face coverings when physical distancing is able to be achieved. For example, if students are outside and there is room to spread out six or more feet apart or if there is a very small group with room to spread out six or more feet apart inside, face coverings could be removed. If a staff member was working alone or in a small group meeting with lots of room to distance, face coverings could be removed. Most classroom situations and all passing times with groups would be times when face coverings were required for staff and students grades 6-12.
We understand that the use of face coverings is a divisive issue because people have radically different opinions about the efficacy of face coverings and whether they should be required. For some who wanted face coverings required in the elementary schools, that may be a factor in them selecting remote instruction. For some who did not want face coverings required in the middle school and high school, that could be a factor in them selecting remote instruction.
We encourage families to sit down and discuss what the best option is for them as we return to learn. Students enrolled in Indianola Community School District have either the face to face on site instruction option or the remote learning option. Families need to consider health factors, family factors related to work and child care, student learning needs, and a host of other things. We are sure families have already been weighing different factors, but please continue to have those conversations so that you can complete the form declaring which option you want by noon July 24 for Irving Elementary and by July 31 for traditional calendar schools. Thank you.