MCSD superintendent provides first Return to Learn update

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Today, Muscatine Community School District Superintendent Clint Christopher released his first update about the district’s Return to Learn plan. In a letter to parents, Christopher introduced himself and began discussing the work the district has done on their Return to Learn plan as they prepare for the 2020-2021 school year. ” Our intent is to bring students back to the classroom on August 24th, as we know that in person instruction is the environment where the majority of students learn best,” he asserted. He then elaborated: “The Return to Learn subcommittees are continuing their work as they look at instructional programming, interventions, and core instruction. Building principals are looking into social distancing for classrooms, hallways, lunch periods, recess, etc. A lot of work needs to take place in the next 30 days to ensure a successful start to this school year. The Return to Learn committee is continuing the hard work of defining solutions that will keep our students and our staff safe and healthy.”

While Christopher asserted that in person learning provides many benefits for students, he acknowledged the difficulties and concerns families may have with doing so during the COVID-19 pandemic: “We know that there are families who are not comfortable sending their children to school this fall because of health reasons and concerns due to COVID-19. We also know that we have high risk staff that have the same concerns.”

In order to address these concerns, Christopher shared the district has begun to look into online learning opportunities as well as in person ones: “we will be offering those families an online option for their students that will follow our curriculum and standards and be taught by Muskie teachers. The online option will be more robust than this spring’s extended learning opportunity with required attendance by students.” He detailed, “all students will have their own district-provided device, and we are currently working with our community partners to support families in need of WiFi access.” For those interested in having their children participate in online learning, Christopher requested they fill out an online survey.

Christopher stressed that as the school year approaches, “we will continue pay attention to the state of COVID-19 in the state and county and make decisions from that information. We will monitor information received from the governor’s office, the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Department of Public Health, Muscatine County Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control and will be prepared to do what is needed to educate our students in the safest way. Our number one priority is to have plans and procedures in place to keep our students and adults healthy in our building, so we will not have to begin a distance remote learning model for all of our students during the school year.”

At this time, Christopher did not provide any more specific information about Muscatine Community School District’s Return to Learn Plan. However, he did indicate that he expected the district to provide families more information at the end of July or beginning of August.