116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - The Iowa City Community School District's first day of school will be delayed two weeks until Sept. 8 as it awaits word from the state on its request to begin the academic year entirely online.
All the district's school board members voted during a special meeting Tuesday in favor of delaying the first day from Aug. 24 to Sept. 8 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The district also submitted its application Tuesday to the Iowa Department of Education seeking permission to begin the school year with an off-site learning model, the first day districts could officially submit such requests.
Interim Superintendent Matt Degner said he hopes extending the academic year would maximize face-to-face instruction time between teachers and students 'which we feel is more likely in June.” The last day of school under the new schedule is June 11.
Snow days can become virtual instruction days and count toward the academic year as long as there are not five snow days in a row, he said.
The delayed start date will give the district time to monitor additional coronavirus activity as college students return this month to the University of Iowa's campus in Iowa City, Degner said.
'That will likely affect community spread rates. We want to get a better sense of what the health conditions in the community (will be like) and felt those extra two weeks could provide some of that,” Degner said.
The district does not meet Gov. Kim Reynold's requirement of a 15 to 20 percent 14-day average for positive coronavirus cases and 10 percent student absentee from school. However, Degner is hopeful it will get approval to begin the school year virtually.
'We feel like we have a strong case,” he said during the meeting.
Degner said if the off-site learning model is denied, delaying the first day of school gives the district a chance to iron out its return-to-learn plan and teachers time to finalize online classes for students who choose the virtual learning option.
While the school board has not made a decision on an in-person model, it offered a hybrid model option Tuesday.
Students would be divided into 'A” and 'B” days. 'A” groups would meet Mondays and Tuesdays and 'B” groups would meet Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays would alternate between 'A” and 'B.”
Remote instruction would take place when students are not on campus for in-person class.
Remote instruction days would be asynchronous learning - or not necessarily at the same time for everyone - with daily morning meetings for students.
For elementary students, all assignments would be posted on SeeSaw, an online student platform. Middle and high school students could access their assignments on Canvas.
An online-only option is available to all students. As of Tuesday, almost 40 percent of families were choosing online enrollment for their students.
'If families are looking for that consistent choice, that K-12 online learning program is a choice for them,” Degner said.
The deadline for families to choose whether they want the standard model of learning or online learning is extended from Aug. 9 to Aug. 16.
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