Education

Cedar Rapids schools returning to in-person classes Monday

District encouraged by decreases in positivity rate and staff absences

Principal Denise Pape greets students as they arrive by bus for the first day of school, Sept. 21, at Viola Gibson Eleme
Principal Denise Pape greets students as they arrive by bus for the first day of school, Sept. 21, at Viola Gibson Elementary School in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids schools are returning to in-person learning Monday, cutting short its two-week virtual waiver, citing a decrease in staff absences and the number of positive COVID-19 in Linn County.

The district also is updating its quarantine guidance, shortening the duration of quarantine from 14 days to 10 days for anyone who’s come into contact with someone with the virus but has no symptoms.

The updated guidance was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week and adopted by Linn County Public Health.

“While we are making plans to return to in-person learning the week of Dec. 7, we emphasize that the mitigation efforts of mask wearing, hand sanitizing and social distancing must remain strong for our kids to stay in school,” Superintendent Noreen Bush said, citing a decrease in the Linn County’s positivity rate of 16.8 percent Thursday.

“When the community does its part, our students get to return to in-person learning,” she said in a news release.

Schools that had in-person learning before the waiver will return to school Monday, Dec. 7. That includes all elementary schools, Metro High School, Polk Alternative Education and Harding, Roosevelt and Wilson middle schools.

Four schools that have been repaired from derecho damage in August will resume in-person classes for the first time this year on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Those schools are Franklin and McKinley middle schools and Jefferson and Washington high schools.

All high school athletics and activities can resume beginning Saturday.

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Students enrolled in either in-person or virtual learning before the start of the school year will continue with whichever learning plan they chose.

With the start of the second semester in January, families have the option to change the instruction model they selected for their child. Requests to change the student’s model — from remote to in-person learning or from in-person to remote learning — can be made to the student’s principal by Dec. 16.

Among the districts that remain in virtual learning until Dec. 14 are Iowa City, College Community and Linn-Mar.

Comments: (319) 398-8411; grace.king@thegazette.com

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