CORONAVIRUS

Cedar Rapids high school students to attend in-person class only twice a week

Special education students to have remote learning options, individualized plans by start of school

The library at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The library at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — High school students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District will attend in-person classes only two days a week this fall and take classes online three days a week, the district announced Monday during a community feedback session.

Students will be split into two groups by the first letter of their last name. Students with last names beginning with A to M will be in Cohort 1 and students with a last name beginning with N to Z will be in Cohort 2.

Classes will be offered in a block schedule. Students can take up to four classes a day for 90-minute sessions each rather than more classes a day for 50 minute sessions.

Cohort 1 will do in-person learning on Monday and Tuesday and online learning Wednesday and Thursday. Cohort 2 will do online learning Monday and Tuesday and in-person Wednesday and Thursday. Both groups will learn online on Fridays.

This meets the state’s requirement for 50 percent capacity in the school building, classrooms and in the lunch room.

All students will be required to wear a face mask, which will be provided by the district.

The proposed schedule is flexible and allows for classes to go completely online if necessary.

Special education

All students with individualized education plans, or IEPs, will have a remote-learning plan create for them between Aug. 1 and the first day of school. These plans will be created individually on a student-by-student basis.

“We will be working through individual situations and individual classroom situations to make the best plan possible for your child,” said Wendy Parker, executive director of Special Services.

More than 2,300 students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District have IEPs. Families will be able to choose virtual or face-to-face learning as any other students in the district, Parker said.

No temperature checks

There will be no daily temperature checks before students get on a bus or enter a school building.

Health Services Manager Sandy Byard said it would take “hours” to check each students temperature as they walked into the building, and research shows 35 percent to 40 percent of people with coronavirus never have a fever.

Attempts to mitigate the virus will be done by wearing masks and face shields and keeping students at least six feet apart when possible, Byard said.

“The expectation for staff and students is they check their temperatures at home and stay home when they’re sick or have other symptoms of COVID-19 like a cough,” she said.

One-to-one technology

Prekindergarten through 12th grade students will have one-to-one technology this year.

All students from first grade to 12th grade will be issued a Chromebook. Pre-K and kindergartners will be given iPads.

More than 350 internet hot spots are available to high schoolers, and the same number are ready for middle schoolers, while 1,500 hot spots are available to elementary students.

Elementary, middle schools

The district last week announced plans for elementary and middle school students to be in the classroom five days a week.

Middle school students will be assigned an advisory teacher. Each advisory cohort would remain together to limit contact between students.

Teachers can rotate in no less than three-week increments to provide students exposure to different subject teachers. The goal is for the student-to-teacher ratio to be 20 to 1.

Both elementary and middle schools will have virtual options.

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Under the plan, all district staff members would be provided masks and shields. Elementary school students would be given face shields, and middle and high school students would be provided face masks.

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

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

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