Muscatine Schools consider moving to virtual learning

MUSCATINE, Iowa– Friday, Nov. 13, Muscatine Community School District Superintendent Clint Christopher announced that the school board would hold a special meeting Monday, Nov. 16 to discuss applying for a waiver to shift all classes online. The move comes as Muscatine County’s percent positive continues to rise and schools face staffing shortages due to positive COVID-19 cases and quarantining. If the board and the department of education approve the waiver, all classes will go online from Nov. 19 through Nov. 24, which the option to extend it if necessary.

Christopher’s full statement to families and staff follows below:

The Muscatine Community School District is scheduling a special meeting of the Muscatine School Board that will take place on Monday, November 16th at 6 p.m. (Tune into the district’s YouTube Channel to watch the meeting live.) During this meeting, the Board of Education will discuss seeking a waiver with the Iowa Department of Education to have all in-person instruction move to an all-virtual learning model. If approved by the Iowa Department of Education, PK-8 students would be in-person/hybrid Monday, November 16th and Tuesday, November 17th. There would be no school Wednesday, November 18th for a professional development day for all elementary and middle school teachers. This will allow for strategic planning in preparation for virtual learning to start the following day (Thursday, November 19th). (Muscatine High School students began all-virtual learning November 11, 2020, through a similar waiver. High school staff will not take part in Wednesday’s professional development day.) 

Our tentative plan is to have in-person PK-6 learners and 7-12 hybrid learners return to school on Monday, November 30th. Hybrid learners will follow their A-B schedule. We will closely monitor Muscatine’s 14-day positivity rate along with our staffing levels and make a decision regarding whether or not we would request an extension to our waiver. That decision will happen by the end of the day on Tuesday, November 24th with communication happening that evening. 

The 14-day positivity rate for Muscatine County is currently 24.4% and the majority of our school buildings are facing staffing shortages. This includes staff members that are ill, quarantined from COVID exposure, or COVID positive.  

Communication will be sent out following the conclusion of Monday’s special school board meeting. We thank you all for your patience, trust, and understanding as we continue working together during these unprecedented times. 

Thank you, 

Clint Christopher, Superintendent