Update on Planning for the 2020-21 School Year
Dr. Murllo provided the following update to parents on July 10, 2020:
I hope you are doing well, staying healthy and enjoying the summer. I am writing to update you on our planning for the return to school on August 24th.
As of today, we intend to begin school either under the On-Site Learning Plan OR the Hybrid Learning Plan. The On-Site Plan allows for all staff and students to attend classes in school buildings on a daily basis, Monday through Friday. The Hybrid plan would assign roughly half of the students to attend classes at school either on a Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday schedule, participate in class remotely on the opposite days, and also remotely on Mondays. We will implement either plan with significant health and safety protocols in place.
As a reminder, we have three plans ready to implement to allow for flexibility during the school year in response to the current health status of our community.
1) On-Site Learning Plan (normal school day with significantly enhanced health and safety protocols)
At this time, we are not anticipating the implementation of the Remote Plan, but it is available should we need to operate classes virtually with no students in the school buildings on a short-term basis. This plan is different from the Voluntary Learning Plan implemented the last 10 weeks of last school year. It is enhanced and will require all students to participate. We know the best educational experience is for students to be in our schools with their peers, learning directly from their teachers and with the support of all district staff members.
Health and Safety Protocols
An important step we are taking to plan for the school year is the development of a Return to Operations Manual that details the health and safety protocols and measures that are being taken to prevent and mitigate the spread of viruses in school. The plan also includes environmental cleaning practices, the use of protective equipment, and procedures for responding to and communicating potential or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Additional measures will be shared with all parents prior to the start of the school year.
Council Bluffs Community Schools will continue to follow the guidelines from the CDC and local health professionals. During the school day, students will view a heightened level of cleaning, from both our custodial staff and other staff members.
- Custodians and staff will clean all high touch surfaces regularly throughout the school day. Those areas include doorknobs, restrooms, light switches, classroom sink handles, keyboards, and countertops regularly throughout the school day.
- Community toys, shared materials, and school supplies will be limited. Sanitation of those items will take place before and after use.
- All cleaning materials in the classroom will be kept out of the reach of students
- Students and staff will wash their hands before handling any food and after breakfast or lunch.
- Students will wash or sanitize their hands regularly.
In the On-site and Hybrid models, the district is proposing that students and district staff members be expected to wear face coverings/masks when social distancing is difficult or not possible (i.e. arrival/dismissal, passing periods, working closely with a student or group of students or traveling throughout the building), and that students and staff will be highly encouraged to wear cloth or disposable face coverings at all times when on school district premises, on school busses or on school-sponsored field trips. The CDC’s guidance on feasibility and adaptations will be considered when implementing this preventative measure.
- Periodic mask breaks will be conducted (using proper social distancing)
- All students and staff will be provided washable face coverings although students and staff may use personal face coverings as long as they cover the mouth and nose area.
- Disposable masks will be available at every campus location as needed.
The District will work to develop a plan for families who have a student where wearing a mask poses a documented medical, behavioral, or developmental issue or concern causing impairment.
Transportation, lunch, and after-school programming will continue but will look different with specific safety guidelines. The District will provide those guidelines as we get closer to the school year.
Today, I am asking you to please take a survey to provide your input on some key areas. Please complete the survey by Wednesday, Friday, July 17.
Council Bluffs has a Virtual School Option for Students who Choose to Learn from Home
The Iowa Department of Education has recently approved our application to become an accredited K-12 Virtual School for families who prefer an all-virtual option for the fall. This option is available to all district students as well as students from other school districts at no cost, and offers greater flexibility for families to determine an educational setting that best meets the needs of their children. The Council Bluffs Community School District Virtual School will provide students with access to on-demand instruction in grades K-12. Students will follow the Council Bluffs Community School District Academic Calendar and will follow the schedule of their assigned classroom (elementary) or daily schedule as provided by the school counselor (secondary). All courses will be taught by licensed teachers utilizing Council Bluffs Community School District curriculum and the Iowa Academic Standards. Students will have access to a broad range of both core subjects, such as English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies, as well as elective courses utilizing the district's Google Classroom course management system, as well as Google Meet. We will be providing more information on this soon, including a registration form for the Virtual School that will be available next week.
If you know of any families who are not residents of our school district who may want to take advantage of this option, please encourage them to complete the 2020-2021 School Year COVID-19 Iowa Open Enrollment Application to Online Providers.
We fully understand your varied concerns about health and safety, remote learning, the importance of face-to-face instruction, childcare needs, the economy, and all of the other unexpected implications of being in school or not being in school during these unusual times.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we make important decisions in a timely manner related to next school year. I will be communicating with you again about the opening of schools by August 1st.