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Council Bluffs announces plans for going back to school in August

Council Bluffs schools
Posted at 1:50 PM, Jul 10, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Council Bluffs Community School District is giving parents an idea of what to expect when classes resume on August 24 including whether or not mask would be required, sanitation practices that would be in place and virtual options for the fall semester.

Superintendent Dr. Vickie Murillo said the schools would be reopening under either the on-site learning plan or the hybrid learning plan. The on-site plan would allow for all staff and students to attend classes in school buildings on a daily basis, Monday through Friday.

The hybrid plan would assign roughly half of the students to attend classes at school either on a Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday schedule, participate in class remotely on the opposite days, and also remotely on Mondays.

"We will implement either plan with significant health and safety protocols in place," Murillo wrote.

Another option would be the remote learning plan, which Murillo said the district is not anticipating but could be put in place if needed. The remote learning plan would have classes operating virtually with no student in the building.

"This plan is different from the voluntary learning plan implemented the last 10 weeks of last school year," Murillo explained. "It is enhanced and will require all students to participate. We know the best educational experience is for students to be in our schools with their peers, learning directly from their teachers and with the support of all district staff members."

The district also has plans for health and safety protocols and measures to prevent the spread on COVID-19 in the schools.

"The plan also includes environmental cleaning practices, the use of protective equipment, and procedures for responding to and communicating potential or confirmed cases of COVID-19," Murillo said. "Additional measures will be shared with all parents prior to the start of the school year."

The district plans on increasing cleaning on high-touch areas like light switches and keyboards, limiting community supplies like toys, requiring students and staff to wash their and before handling any food and having students wash their hands regularly.

The district is proposing that students and district staff members be expected to wear face coverings/masks when social distancing is difficult or not possible such as arrival dismissal, passing periods, working closely or traveling throughout the building.

Students will be highly encouraged to wear masks at all times on school district premises, on school buses and on school-sponsored field trips.

The CDC’s guidance on feasibility and adaptations will be considered when implementing this preventative measure. Periodic mask breaks would be conducted (using proper social distancing), all students and staff will be provided washable face coverings although students and staff may use personal face coverings as long as they cover the mouth and nose area and that disposable masks will be available at every campus location as needed.

The district will work to develop a plan for families who have a student where wearing a mask poses a documented medical, behavioral, or developmental issue or concern causing impairment.

Transportation, lunch, and after-school programming will continue but will look different with specific safety guidelines. The district will provide those guidelines as we get closer to the school year.

Parents can give feedback to the district before July 17 through a survey

For parents who prefer an all virtual option for the fall, the Iowa Department of Education has recently approved the district's application to become an accredited K-12 Virtual School.

"This option is available to all district students as well as students from other school districts at no cost, and offers greater flexibility for families to determine an educational setting that best meets the needs of their children," the district said. "The Council Bluffs Community School District Virtual School will provide students with access to on-demand instruction in grades K-12."

If your family is not residential to the school district and you may want to take advantage of this option, you can complete the 2020-2021 School Year COVID-19 Iowa Open Enrollment Application to Online Providers.

"We fully understand your varied concerns about health and safety, remote learning, the importance of face-to-face instruction, childcare needs, the economy, and all of the other unexpected implications of being in school or not being in school during these unusual times," Murillo said. "Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we make important decisions in a timely manner related to next school year. I will be communicating with you again about the opening of schools by August 1."