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Back-to-School Update

Good afternoon.

As you have heard, the Iowa City School Board has voted to begin the year 100% online due to the rising positive cases of COVID-19 in Johnson County. The District applied for a two-week waiver from the Department of Education, and this waiver was granted. This means that all instructional days will count even though they are online.

I know this has created many questions, challenges, and uncertainties for many of our families. Please know that as a staff, we will do everything we can to support you and your student. I have tried to summarize information below explaining how the year will begin, and we also plan on having another parent and student webinar later this week to answer additional questions and provide more clarification. 

  1. There are still two tracks/or cohorts of students-- the ICCSD Fully Online Program, and the Hybrid Model. During e-registration, your family selected which group you would like to be in. You should know by now if you are in the A or B group. If you are unsure, please email Rachel Hills @ hills.rachel@iowacityschools.org.

  2. The ICCSD Fully Online Program group will remain fully online. The district has committed to offering this program to families all school year long. Families in this program will have the chance to evaluate after first trimester and choose to remain on this program or switch to the Hybrid Model at that time.

  3. The Hybrid Model group is the group that was going to start AA/BB in person half of the time. Now, based on the waiver, the Hybrid Model will also be starting the school year fully online. This decision is for the first 14 days of the school year. Then, the district will reassess and decide whether it needs to ask the Governor's office for more time online, or if it is safe to return to the AA/BB in person plan. So, the Hybrid Model is starting fully online, with the goal of coming back to in-person as soon as it is safe to do so.

  4. To start the year, both groups of students will be following the same daily class schedule. Please take a look at that schedule on page 12 of the ICCSD's Return to Learn plan (link below):

    https://www.iowacityschools.org/Page/18785

  5. Students in both programs will have classes every day under this plan. These classes will be synchronous (live) classes delivered on Zoom, as well as asynchronous (completing work on your own). On Mondays and Wednesdays, we will have periods 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the morning via zoom. All students are required to zoom into those classes during those times on Mondays and Wednesdays.The afternoon will be for a-synchronous work time (homework, readings, individual and small group help, etc).

    On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we will have the a-synchronous work time in the mornings, then hold periods 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the afternoon. Again, all students are required to zoom into their periods 5-8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays during those class times. On Fridays, all 8 class periods will meet for class meetings, or teachers will be available for small group check ins and office hours. These Friday meetings are not intended to last the entire class period. The reason for this is that research states students should not be spending more that a half day in front of screens on Zoom.

  6. We hope to have student schedules done and ready for students to view in the next day or so. We have finished the master schedule, but hit some technical difficulties when trying to commit them. As soon as they are ready, we will email all families. We are also asking teachers to email their students later this week with information for their class, and to require students to respond to the teacher so we know that everyone is able to access their email. We will follow up with a phone call to any student who does not reply so that we make sure everyone is ready to go on the first day of school.

As always, thank you for your support, patience and flexibility. In spite of the ever changing situation we find ourselves in, we are very excited to start the year and are looking forward to meeting all of our new families and welcoming back our returning students. 

Take care,

Michelle Cook, Principal
cook.michelle@iowacityschools.org