CORONAVIRUS

College Community applies for two-week virtual instruction waiver

Superintendent Doug Wheeler 'pleading' with community to take precautions to slow spread of virus

College Community School District superintendent Doug Wheeler talks to some members of his cabinet during a cabinet meet
College Community School District superintendent Doug Wheeler talks to some members of his cabinet during a cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Pending approval from the Iowa Department of Education, College Community School District will start in temporary virtual instruction for two weeks on Nov. 16, because of a surge of coronavirus cases in the district.

The district plans to resume school in a hybrid model after Thanksgiving break Nov. 30 through Dec. 22.

Last week, the district reported 43 students and staff who were positive for COVID-19, and 213 students and 16 staff in quarantine.

In a letter to families Monday evening, Superintendent Doug Wheeler wrote he is “pleading” with the community to take precautions against the coronavirus.

“Please wear a ask, wash your hands frequently, make good choices during the holiday, suspend large gatherings and do whatever it takes to help us get students back in school every day as soon as possible,” he said.

The effects of closing schools in March to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and now educating students in varying models of learning is having an impact on students academic and social-emotional development, Wheeler said.

Families are struggling to find child care for students in hybrid learning and for those who have to quarantine for two weeks, he said.

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Staff is working “tirelessly,” Wheeler said, implementing new protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and taking on extra responsibilities because of a shortage in substitute teachers.

“As adults, we had the opportunity of 13 years of uninterrupted, typical schooling,” Wheeler said. “Our current students deserve no less than our full effort to ensure this interruption ends as soon as possible.”

Wheeler said community spread is resulting in increased contact tracing requiring isolation and quarantine for students and staff who are coming in contact with the coronavirus.

“This situation has escalated greatly in the past five days,” Wheeler said. “Not only are we battling this virus at school, we are battling this virus in the greater community.

While the choices we make do not ensure we are protected from this virus, our choices can mitigate its spread.”

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

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