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WC Schools plan for several scenarios to start the school year

Guest View

As we plan for the start of what is sure to be an unusual beginning to the school year in theWebster City Community Schools, we are hard at work preparing for a variety of scenarios. Specifically, there are four main options for how teaching and learning might look starting Aug. 24.

The first option is that we welcome all students in grades PK-12 back into our school buildings,with numerous health and safety protocols in place. This would represent our most effectiveform of instruction and allow us to provide social and emotional support for students. Under thisscenario, we would make accommodations for students and staff who have underlying health orother conditions that make returning to school difficult or impossible.

A second option would use a hybrid model that combines in-person and remote learning.Students in grades PK-4 would attend school in person every day due to the additionalsupervision needed at that age. We would implement social distancing, along with other requirements based on recommendations from Hamilton County Public Health, the AmericanAcademy of Pediatricians and local physicians.

Under the second option, students in grades 5-12 would use an A/B schedule. Older students,who tend to be more independent, would be able to practice social distancing while still havingin-person contact with their teachers on a regular basis.

Students in Cohort A would attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, while students in CohortB would attend on Thursdays and Fridays. Both groups would have remote learningrequirements when they are not at school. No students in grades 5-12 would attend in-personschool on Wednesdays, when our custodial staff would thoroughly clean our buildings.

The third option would involve all PK-12 students attending classes on the A/B scheduleoutlined above. They would attend school in person on assigned days and participate ininstruction remotely on the other days. Again, use of this model would depend on public healthconditions in our community. While we understand this model has limitations, includingchildcare, it is important to understand that we would return to the first or second option as soonas possible.

Finally, a fourth option would involve all students engaged in remote learning, using technologyand district-approved platforms for distance education. No students would physically attend school during this period. We would continue to monitor public health trends in hopes of movingback to hybrid or fully in-person options as soon as possible.

If we do need to engage in completely remote learning, educators and families will be providedwith opportunities to help make remote instruction best fit the educational needs of all studentsat their developmental levels.

For all options, we will require teachers and staff to wear face coverings. Students will also needto wear face coverings while riding the bus, but will not be required to do so in our buildings.However, we will strongly recommend face coverings for students throughout the school day.

We will also limit visitors, including parents and guardians, in our buildings, and face coveringswill be required. In addition, we have decided that temperatures will not be taken at the door oron the bus.

While we do not know for sure yet what the start of the school year will look like, we will keepplanning with the health and safety of our students, staff, families and community members asour top priority. We will continue to keep our community updated as the picture becomes moreclear in the weeks to come.

Dr. Mandy Ross is superintendent of the Webster City Community Schools.

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