CORONAVIRUS

Iowa City schools' request to begin virtually denied by Department of Education

The Iowa City Community School District Headquarters in Iowa City. (Gazette file photo)
The Iowa City Community School District Headquarters in Iowa City. (Gazette file photo)

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Community School District was denied its request to begin the school year virtually by the Iowa Department of Education.

The district submitted a request to the Department of Education earlier this week to begin the academic year in an off-site learning model.

The school board will discuss next steps during its board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 5 p.m., and provide an update to families as soon as possible, Interim Superintendent Matt Degner said in an email to families Thursday.

On Tuesday, the school board approved delaying the first day of school from Aug. 24 to Sept. 8. The two week delay will help slow the spread of the coronavirus after students at the University of Iowa return to campus in August, the school board said.

By extending the academic year two weeks in June 2021, Degner said he hoped to maximize face-to-face instruction time between teachers and students.

While the school board has not made a decision on its return to learn plan, it offered a hybrid model option this past week.

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.

A virtual learning option is available to all students.

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The deadline for families to choose whether they want the standard model of learning or online learning is Aug. 16.

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

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