CORONAVIRUS

Cedar Rapids schools have finalized plans for returning. Here's what you need to know

A main hallway is seen empty at Cleveland Elementary School in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 17, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The G
A main hallway is seen empty at Cleveland Elementary School in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 17, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Community School District on Friday announced its final return-to-learn plan, which includes options of in-person classes for elementary and middle school students, a hybrid of in-person and online learning for high school students, or an online-only option available to all students.

Cedar Rapids families have until Wednesday, Aug. 5, to decide whether to enroll their children in virtual or in-school learning. The first day of classes is Aug. 24.

To pick a plan for your child, visit cr.k12.ia.us.

Not much has changed from earlier versions of the Cedar Rapids return-to-learn plan, which requires students and staff to wear face masks or shields provided by the district while at school.

In a message from Superintendent Noreen Bush, she said the plan is based on safety, options and flexibility for students and staff.

“I understand our district’s final plan may not make everyone happy. Opinions, perspectives and voiced concerns are inevitable within our community. ... We have developed quality options and allow our families to decide what is best for them,” Bush said.

While return-to-learn options differ slightly for elementary, middle and high school students, in all classrooms the student-to-teacher ratio will be approximately 20-to-1.

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English Language Learners and students with Individualized Education Plans at any level will receive support. Paraeducators will be responsible for a range of support services in a school building to maintain health guidelines.

Elementary schools

All prekindergarten to fifth-grade students can return to in-person instruction and will be assigned a homeroom teacher. The students and teacher will remain within the same cohort to minimize physical contact with others.

Arrival and dismissal times also will be designed to minimize contact between students.

Middle schools

All sixth- through eighth-grade students returning to in-person instruction will be assigned an advisory teacher. Each advisory group will remain the same throughout the year to limit contact.

Advisory teachers will supervise student learning, which will be created by subject teachers and delivered virtually or in-person.

High schools

High school students will return in a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction.

Students will attend class in the school building for two to three days a week and attend online instruction the other two to three days a week.

They will be split into an “A” and “B” cohort based on the first letter of their last name, reducing the number of students in the school each day.

For a larger image, click here to view a pdf.


cedar rapids return to learn

Classes will be in a block schedule where students will have up to four longer class periods a day.

Teachers will teach six periods over two days, teaching three block periods a day and have a prep period every day.

Because of smaller enrollment, the hybrid model is not available at Polk. For students who do not choose the entirely virtual option, they will attend in-person in a classroom.

Remote learning

Cedar Rapids district remote learning is available to all students as a choice. For those who choose it, attendance will be taken.

This online learning option is more structured than the continuous learning model that was quickly adopted this past spring, according to the return-to-learn plan.

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For those who choose the option, parents or guardians, students and teachers will have regular two-way communication. Teachers will facilitate check-ins with students and parents at least once a month.

Cedar Rapids Virtual Academy

The Cedar Rapids Virtual Academy is an online middle and high school offered to Cedar Rapids students that is separate from the district remote learning option.

While remote learning will be taught by Cedar Rapids teachers using the Cedar Rapids curriculum, the virtual academy is a self-paced curriculum developed by a state-approved coursework provider, Edgenuity. Students will be assigned a Cedar Rapids teacher for each subject they are taking.

Safety protocols

Students and staff are expected to take their own temperature before coming to school, and will not be allowed to attend or work if their temperature is 100.4 or above.

Those exposed to a person with a positive coronavirus test are to self-isolate for 14 days.

Only essential visitors and volunteers will be allowed in the building.

Aboard buses

Students are required to wear a mask while riding the school bus and use provided hand sanitizer when entering and exiting the bus.

Students will be asked to sit according to a seating chart, loading the bus from back to front and unloading front to back.

Buses will be disinfected after each route.

In the lunchroom

Students will be served breakfast and lunch in their cohorts, and arrival and dismissal time will be designed to minimize contact between students.

Robust cleaning

A custodial staff will disinfect student and staff furniture, counters and other high-touch areas each night.

During the day, custodial staff will routinely clean high-touch areas such as doorknobs and handrails.

Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms without sinks and in common spaces such as the cafeteria.

Unnecessary items such as bean bag chairs, upholstered furniture and stuffed toys will be removed from classrooms.

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

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