We have several important announcements to share with families, staff and the community.
1. Due to a decrease in Linn County community positivity cases, reduced CRCSD staff absenteeism, and our area healthcare systems gaining stable capacity, CRCSD is opening the following schools to in-person learning the week of December 7th:
- Schools that were conducting in-person learning prior to the state waiver for remote learning will welcome their students back to their respective school building on Monday, December 7th. This includes ALL elementary schools, Metro High School, Polk Alternative Education and three middle schools: Harding, Roosevelt and Wilson.
- We have had to navigate some staffing and resources to open our additional middle school and high school buildings, but have been able to do so for December 9th:
- The following derecho-damaged middle schools will transition their in-person learning students back on Wednesday, December 9th: Franklin and McKinley.
- The following derecho-damaged high schools will transition their students back, via a hybrid model, on Wednesday, December 9th: Jefferson and Washington.
As noted last week, the original waiver to the Iowa Department of Education was filed for a December 14th return, with the option to return the week of December 7th if COVID-19 related conditions improve. CRCSD evaluated the following improved parameters, in consultation with Linn County Public Health data and guidance, in the decision-making process to return the week of December 7th:
- The Linn County community positivity rate decreased to 16.8%
- The CRCSD staff absenteeism rate significantly decreased. CRCSD needs healthy adults to conduct all elements of school programming (teachers, bus drivers, school meal employees, crossing guards)
- Healthcare systems are more stabilized with a decline in COVID-19 case admissions.
CRCSD constantly monitors these three parameters and makes decisions based on the data. Please be prepared that changes to the in-person learning structure can change quickly.
2. The two remaining derecho-damaged buildings will welcome their students back on the following schedule:
- Taft Middle School will return for in-person learners on December 14th.
- Taft classes for in-person learners will be canceled on December 11 to provide staff time to set up their rooms and prepare for in-person instruction. This cancellation only affects students who have chosen the in-person learning option. Students who have chosen the remote learning option or CRVA will have classes as normal.
- Kennedy High School will return to in-person learning in mid-January.
3. All High School athletics and activities can resume beginning Saturday, December 5th. Athletic directors and coaches will provide detailed information regarding practice schedules and events.
4. CDC updated its quarantine duration guidelines on December 1st and Linn County Public Health (LCPH) adopted the guidance effective December 2nd. CRCSD will align with LCPH guidance. The newest guidance provides parameters on shortened duration of quarantine. Please visit our for more information to be posted by Friday, December 4th.
Reminder: CRCSD will follow Linn County Public Health’s guidance regarding “close contact” definition, as it aligns with CDC recommendations. On November 12th, LCPH released updated guidance for contact tracing and quarantine related to the definition of “close contact.” Throughout the pandemic, CRCSD has worked closely with LCPH and will continue this partnership within our specific county. While this updated local county guidance is a departure from the Iowa Department of Public Health, LCPH is aligning their guidance with CDC recommendations in order to mitigate the current high rate of Linn County community spread.
- Close contact is defined by CDC, and subsequently LCPH, as: Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period, starting from 2 days before illness onset or testing.*
- Living in the same household as a COVID-19 positive person
- Direct physical contact with a COVID-19 positive person (hugged or kissed them)
- Exposure to respiratory droplets from a COVID-19 positive person (sneezed on, coughed on, etc.)
*Even if you had a mask on. Please note this is the significant differentiator between CDC/LCPH and Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines.
5. Grab N’ Go Meal Locations Announced
Starting Monday, December 7th, Grab N’ Go meals will be available at three pickup locations:
- Johnson STEAM Academy
- Roosevelt RCCBA
- Wright Elementary through Wednesday, December 9th, then Pierce Elementary beginning Thursday, December 10th
Free breakfast and lunch for all children 18 and under.
Virtual learning students are able to pick up Grab N’ Go meals on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
No student IDs are necessary. Parents, guardians, and students may pick up the meals. Families may pick up meals for all of their virtual learning students at one meal service location.
In order to offer in-person instruction, we have to keep all of the aforementioned in mind: 1) county positivity rate over a 14-day average 2) employee absences 3) healthcare system capacity.
“While we are making plans to return to in-person learning the week of December 7th, we emphasize that the mitigation efforts of mask wearing, hand sanitizing and social distancing must remain strong for our kids to stay in school,” said Superintendent Noreen Bush. “When the community does its part, our students get to return to in-person learning.”