CORONAVIRUS

Iowa City schools to start in-person hybrid classes Sept. 28

Move comes as virus positive rate drops below 10 percent in Johnson County

Callista Ruopp (center) helps Zuly Palante get to the right spot on her laptop computer as her son, Alexei Maier, works
Callista Ruopp (center) helps Zuly Palante get to the right spot on her laptop computer as her son, Alexei Maier, works on his school work Sept. 10 during remote learning at Ruopp’s home in Iowa City. The Iowa City school district announced Friday it will begin in-person, hybrid classes Sept. 28 for students who chose that learning option this semester. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Community School District will shift from online to a hybrid learning model Sept. 28.

The district started classes online Sept. 8 after receiving a two-week waiver from in-person classes from the Iowa Department of Education.

The waiver came because COVID-19 case numbers were climbing in Johnson County, mainly because of students returning to the University of Iowa.

The district received a second two-week waiver for virtual instruction from the state last week.

But the county’s 14-day positivity rate dropped to 8.2 percent Friday, and district leaders announced they now felt comfortable transitioning into a hybrid learning model.

How it will work

The transition only applies to the 55 percent of students who opted for standard enrollment during registration. The other 45 percent of students are enrolled in online-only classes.

Students who opted for standard enrollment were assigned to either the “A” or “B” group. The hybrid learning model has students attending classes 50 percent on-site and 50 percent online.

The “A” group will be on-site starting Monday, Sept. 28, and Tuesday, Sept. 29. The “B” group will be on-site that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The schedule will flip the next week and continue to rotate.

The district will begin in-person athletic and co-curricular activities starting Saturday, Sept. 26. That includes practices and scheduled competitions. Spectators will be limited at events.

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The district’s transportation department is finalizing bus schedules for students returning in the hybrid model. Bus route information will be provided to families no later than Sept. 21.

Matrix

In a school board meeting earlier this week, Interim Superintendent Matt Degner said he felt comfortable shifting students to a hybrid learning model, given that many of the new COVID-19 cases in the county were occurring in those between 18 and 24 years old,

The school board approved a matrix — based on coronavirus cases — to guide the administration’s decisions in shifting between the online, hybrid and 100 percent in-person learning models.

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

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