While the Perry Community School District’s onsite Return to Learn (R2L) Plan is aiming for 100% in-person instruction starting Aug. 19, an online R2L Plan is also available to families and students with unique medical needs or who are otherwise uncomfortable attending traditional onsite learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public meetings held this week in the Perry Performing Arts Center and led by the elementary, middle and high school principals gave parents information about both options, and the school district’s website also has information in Spanish and English.
Parents choosing the online option have until Monday, Aug. 3 to fill out the Online Learning Registration Form, committing their students to one full semester of online instruction.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds brought some clarity to the safe and responsible reopening of public schools Thursday when she announced updated guidance from the Iowa departments of public health and education. The guidance recommended actions school districts should take according to the rate of community spread of the novel coronavirus in the district as well as how to manage in-school outbreaks.
Perry’s R2L plan’s goal of 100% onsite instruction meets the Iowa Department of Education (DOE) requirement that at least 50% of all instruction take place in the school, a standard proclaimed July 17 by Reynolds and embodied in Iowa Senate File 2310. The DOE has also issued guidance on Senate File 2310.
The Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), the union representing public school teachers, issued a checklist July 23 of requirements for a safe return to in-person learning. The three main ISEA requirements are:
- COVID-19 should be under control in the community. Public health experts agree that reopening schools must wait until transmission rates of the coronavirus are low and declining for two weeks.
- Protections should be in place to keep the virus under control, including “a requirement that everyone wear appropriate face coverings and that the employer provide those face coverings.”
- Continuous learning plans should be in place for all students for online instruction.
Iowa is one of five states — the others are Missouri, Florida, Texas and South Carolina — to mandate in-person learning for the fall term and one of two states, with South Dakota, without any kind of mask mandate. In other words, Iowa is the only U.S. state requiring in-person learning but not requiring masks.