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Thursday, December 3, 2020

    Muscatine Schools shares return to learn plan

    Margaret Stadtwald
    Margaret Stadtwaldhttps://discovermuscatine.com
    Margaret Stadtwald works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

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    MUSCATINE, Iowa–At a special meeting July 30, the Muscatine Community School District board shared the initial version of their Return to Learn plan. While all involved stressed the plan’s fluidity, they believed it provided a good first look into MCSD’s approach to opening schools.

    At all grade levels, families will have the option to choose in person or virtual learning. For students in prekindergarten through sixth grade, in person learning will take place daily for all students. Junior high and high school students will utilize a hybrid model where they attend in person classes every other day and complete online the days they learn from home. In all grade levels, students may opt to learn virtually. In these cases, students will have live online core instruction daily. Parents may select at the beginning of the semester which option the prefer. They may change their choice at the semester break.

    For students utilizing in person learning, the district will provide busing. Buses will operate at full capacity, with all riders and the driver wearing face masks and students in assigned seats. Bus drivers will fully sanitize their buses between routes and perform daily health self screenings before beginning their routes.

    Regardless of the learning option families select, all students can receive school meals. Students eating at school will utilize disposable silverware, no contact payment, and socially distanced seating for both breakfast an lunch. Students doing virtual learning can pick up grab and go breakfasts and lunches at a central location MCSD will announce.

    The district has implemented a number of health and safety measures for those choosing in person learning. These include requiring staff and students to wear face masks when fewer than six feet apart, socially distanced furniture where possible, and additional time for hand washing or using hand sanitizer. Before coming to school, families and staff should conduct self screenings to help prevent sick individuals from entering school buildings. MCSD will also follow an enhanced cleaning routine, which will extend to both classrooms and recess equipment.

    If a student or staff member becomes ill during the day, each school will have a separate nurse’s office for suspected COVID-19 cases. Anyone with a fever will need to go home immediately, and receive guidance on what to do if they have symptoms of COVID-19, if they receive a negative COVID-19 test result, or if they receive a positive test result.

    In the event that a classroom, building, or the whole district must move to remote learning, the district has taken several steps to make if more effective. This year, all students will have access to a technological device, with kindergarten through second grade students having iPads and older students having ChromeBooks. Families can access school meals at a grab and go site. Several child care facilities with drop in rates have partnered with MCSD to help them accommodate parents who need childcare during the day.

    At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Clint Christopher welcomed communications from the public, as he felt, “it will continue to make this plan better and better.”

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