COVID-19 FAQs

  • What is Return-to-Learn?
    The Iowa City Community School District has developed our Return-to-Learn Plan that will put us in a position to be prepared for multiple scenarios throughout the 2020-21 school year. We will be ready to help our students succeed academically while ensuring their health and safety are not compromised.

    The work has been divided into seven targeted areas. Teams were built for each area to create comprehensive plans based on three potential learning models for the fall: Continuous Learning (remote/at-home instruction), On-Site Delivery, or a Hybrid approach.  View full details on our Return-to-Learn work here www.IowaCitySchools.org/ReturnToLearn.

    What is the Continuum of Learning Models?
    As part of the Return-to-Learn plan, the District has developed a continuum of learning opportunities for students. The models have been finalized, and they will be activated depending on certain health and safety conditions.  The continuum can be found here: https://www.iowacityschools.org/Page/18776.

    What does the Hybrid learning model look like?
    The District has developed a hybrid learning model, which includes a blend of on-site and off-site instruction. With the hybrid learning model, 50% of PK-12 students will be on-site on ‘A’ days and 50% of PK-12 students will be on-site on ‘B’ days. Remote learning takes place when students are not on campus. Students will be released one-hour early every Wednesday. The full A/B hybrid learning model calendar can be found on the District website at www.IowaCitySchools.org/Calendars.

    What is the ICCSD PK-12 Online Learning Program?
    The Iowa City Community School District’s new PK-12 Online Learning Program (ICCSD Online) is an exciting learning opportunity available to all students for the 2020-2021 school year. As the community and the nation respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ICCSD Online provides parents a high-quality, at-home alternative to the District’s traditional classroom setting. Designed by District teachers and administrators, the program provides students the ability to engage in rigorous coursework offered through an online environment. As a District, we recognize the significant health and safety concerns still facing our community. ICCSD Online provides parents the ability to choose the academic setting that is best for their student without having to sacrifice the traditional benefits of working directly with teachers and classmates.

    Can my student transition between standard enrollment and enrollment in the ICCSD PK-12 Online Learning Program?
    Families may only request a change in their enrollment selection at each trimester, with a few exceptions. If you believe your student may be eligible for any of the following exceptions, please reach out to your child's principal to request a change in enrollment prior to the new trimester.

    Exceptions for current students requesting to switch between learning models prior to the new trimester:

    • ICCSD PK-12 Online Learning Program to Hybrid Learning Model
      • Students receiving special education services (this must first be determined by an IEP team if the provision of FAPE cannot be provided in the online learning environment) 
      • Students who are McKinney-Vento eligible  
    • Hybrid Learning Model to ICCSD PK-12 Online Learning Program
      • Students who are McKinney-Vento eligible  
      • Students who are homebound

    Can a family new to the District enroll their student(s) into the Online Learning Program once the trimester has started?
    All students new to the District must enroll in the standard enrollment option. Exceptions for enrolling into the ICCSD PK-12 Online Learning Program include:

    Are there schedules for the off-site learning days?
    The continuous online learning schedules can be found here: https://www.iowacityschools.org/Page/18740.

    How will the District decide if there is a need to transition between learning models?
    Much like the decision-making process for inclement weather days, our Board of Directors has authorized the Superintendent to make decisions regarding transitions between learning models.  To help guide that decision-making process, we have developed a COVID-19 Decision Matrix which was approved by the Board on September 1, 2020.  The matrix was developed in collaboration with Johnson County Public Health and Johnson County Emergency Management. It provides data guidelines to determine if a shift in learning models is required for an individual building or the entire District.

    What health and safety protocols will be in place when students return to school?
    The health and safety of our students and staff have been our primary focus throughout our Return-to-Learn decision-making process.  Our detailed health and safety protocols can be found on pages 14-20 within our Comprehensive Return-to-Learn Guide.

    Is the District cleaning buildings regularly?
    Yes, the District has a regular cleaning schedule for all buildings. In addition to the measures already in place, the District will conduct cleaning procedures as recommended by the CDC. This will include cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. 

    Will students still receive meals regardless of the learning model?
    The District will provide meals for students enrolled in both the hybrid learning model and the ICCSD PK-12 Online Learning Program. All meals, regardless of model, will be free to all students through December 2020.

    • Hybrid Model: Breakfast and lunch will be available through on-site cafeterias for students while they are on campus. Students and staff will follow District health and safety protocols during on-site meal service
    • Grab & Go Meals: Grab & Go meals will be available for any students not on campus. Meals will be distributed Monday through Friday (with the exception of No School days) from 12:00 pm -1:00 pm at the following locations
      • City High School
      • Hills Elementary School  
      • Liberty High School
      • North Central Junior High
      • Northwest Junior High
      • South East Junior High
      • West High School

    Free meals have been approved ONLY through December 2020.  Families requesting assistance should fill out a Free and Reduced Meal Application by September 30, 2020.  Applications should be submitted online at www.myschoolapps.com.

    The District encourages families to continue to be proactive in reducing the risk of COVID-19 by not congregating at the school site once meals have been distributed. Meals are intended for immediate consumption and should be stored/refrigerated as needed. Additional resources for food assistance can be found through the United Way of Johnson County or through the HACAP Food Reservoir

    How do I get technology assistance?
    In the event that a student is having trouble with a school-issued computer, or if a device is in need of repair or replacement, please contact the ICCSD Technology Help Desk.  This also includes requests for assistance with internet access.  The Help Desk can be reached by phone at (319) 688-1950, by email at helpdesk@iowacityschools.org, or by using the chat option available during business hours in the bottom right corner of the Technology & Innovation Blog (https://innovation.iowacityschools.org). For detailed technology support information, visit our technology support page.

    How do I know if I should keep my student home due to illness?
    Educating students is the District’s priority and ensuring their health and safety is also of prominent importance. The District’s health and safety protocols assist in keeping students healthy while at school. Unfortunately, we know that despite everyone’s best efforts students and staff may become ill while at school or while participating in a school activity or event. The District has developed procedures for at school, as well as for families to use at home, to help keep all in the school community healthy and to provide support for individuals when they feel ill.  Our COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Guidelines outline when you should keep your child home from school.

    Will I be notified if there is a positive COVID-19 case in my child's school?
    For each positive COVID-19 case, the District will conduct contact tracing to determine if anyone was exposed to the infected individual.  This will be done while maintaining the confidentiality of our staff and students.  In addition, we have developed a COVID-19 Dashboard to track the number of active cases among students and staff within our District.

    Who should I notify if my child tests positive for COVID-19 or if they have been exposed to someone with the virus?
    Please notify your child's principal if your child is ill or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.  The school nurse will then reach out to you to conduct contact tracing, if necessary, and determine the date that your child is safe to return to school.

    How do I know when my child can return to school after illness or exposure?
    Please review our Guidelines for Returning to School after COVID-19.  These guidelines review multiple scenarios and the timeline for isolation/quarantine.  Your school nurse will work with you to determine the date that your child is safe to return to school.

    Will my child’s absences be excused?
    Yes, any COVID-19 related absences will be excused. The District has suspended the distribution of absence letters until further notice.

    Is the District allowing student trips?
    The District has recommended the postponement or cancellation of all international travel as well as all domestic travel outside of Iowa until further notice.

    Does the District have recommendations for private independent student travel?
    The CDC has identified multiple countries with a Level 3 Travel Notice, meaning avoid all non-essential travel due to widespread or ongoing transmission of COVID-19.  The full list of countries identified with a Level 3 Travel Warning can be found here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.  The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that anyone who visits these countries voluntarily self-isolates for 14 days upon their return.

    Is the District prohibiting private independent staff travel?
    The CDC has identified multiple countries with a Level 3 Travel Notice, meaning avoid all non-essential travel due to widespread or ongoing transmission of COVID-19.  The full list of countries identified with a Level 3 Travel Warning can be found here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.  The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that anyone who visits these countries voluntarily self-isolates for 14 days upon their return.

    Is the District sending staff to conferences outside the District?
    The District is suspending all future out of state professional development registration and travel requests until further notice. 

    Will staff be paid if the District is in a 100% off-site learning model?
    It is critical that we support the health, safety, and well-being of our staff during this uncertain time. This includes helping minimize any financial impact to employees while schools are closed. We recognize pay and financial security are extremely important to all families. The District will continue to pay employees their normal salaries and wages during the school closure. Human Resources and Payroll will provide additional guidance to staff regarding pay and compensation during the closure period.