Return to Learn: #MuskieStrong
by Tony Tone
August 07, 2020

Can you imagine being tasked with the job of building the Return to Learn plan for the Muscatine Community School District? I’m a firm believer in our school board, teachers, and folks in the administration office and want to applaud their efforts. No one in the past has had to navigate a global pandemic with respect to education.

As a parent of two current MCSD students (and another that’s about a year away) of course I want the safest option for my children. That’s why I took the time to read the entire Return to Learn plan. I would strongly encourage you do the same thing to fully understand the plan.

My wife and I both feel that the district will be well prepared to start the school year on Monday, Aug. 24. I also fully support parents/caregivers that are electing to take the online route. We happen to have a child that needs additional help and the structure found within the four walls of a school building. Will wearing a mask be a challenge for our eight and five-year-old? I’m sure it will be, but they’ll get used to it, just like all of us have adapted over the past six months.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our teachers in Muscatine and how my initial plan was to be a high school English teacher. I’m so thankful to the men and women that made the decision to improve the lives of our children via teaching. They’ve worked so hard to go from working in the classroom to shifting things to online and then having to adapt their classrooms for the “new normal.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention once again the work of our school board members. Keep in mind, several of them were recently elected (in November of 2019) and thought their biggest challenges would be replacing a superintendent and the curriculum audit. There’s no way they could have foreseen Zoom board meetings and literally having to spend hundreds (or more) hours crafting the official Return to Learn plan.

Maybe you’ve thought of the tough job our new superintendent, Mr. Clint Christopher, has. His family moved to Muscatine from Minnesota and had to hit the ground running with respect to getting to work in his role at MCSD. Just thinking of the amount of stress is giving me gray hair!

I’m also going to recognize someone you may not know; Lisa Bunn. What a rock star she is in her role working alongside our new superintendent, Mr. Clint Christopher. In addition to that, Lisa has spent a lot of time ensuring information is properly shared with the community and her level of care for our students is commendable.

So, here we sit fewer than 15 days away from school beginning. Will things change course more than once this year? I’m sure they will. What I’m pledging is my support, patience, and willingness to adapt when we go from plan a to b or c. I’m so proud to live and work in Muscatine. I’m thankful that my children will be products of our school district that will prepare them for life. Here’s to a healthy and safe start to the school year. Oh, and a shameless plug for the Muscatine, L&M, and Wilton face masks available in aisle 6 at Hy-Vee! #MuskieStrong 

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