School announces plans for Aug. 24 return to classes

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By Shelia Tomkins

Clayton Ridge Community School has announced its plans for the return to classes on Aug. 24. 

"At this time we are planning to begin the school year with all students face-to-face," said Superintendent Shane Wahls in a letter to parents. "We will have a number of mitigation procedures in place."

Parents received a copy of a 20-page "Return to Learn" plan prepared by the district's COVID-19 task force, a group consisting of administrators, local health officials, parents and teachers. The committee studied three options: fully in-person education, fully online, and a hybrid model combining both in-person and online education. The committee's recommendation was for fully in-person instruction.

The Return to Learn plan addresses such topics as prevention practices and education, as well as urging students and staff to stay home if not feeling well. Additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures for facilities and buses will be in place. Staff will have temperature screens. 

Classrooms will be set up to maximize social distancing as much as possible, and teachers are encouraged to take students outside for class when possible. Social distancing will also be encouraged as much as possible, and students will be broken into smaller groups for activities.

Plans call for cafeteria capacity to be reduced to 50%, and students will be assigned seats to allow four students per table during staggered lunch times. Students may eat in their classroom and/or outdoors. 

Assigned seating will be utilized on buses, and all buses will be deep cleaned each morning and evening. Three additional buses have been added to the district's fleet to decrease the number riding together. Parents are encouraged to transport their children to and from school. Staggered dismissal times will be established to limit the number of students in a hallway at one time. 

School visitors will be admitted into the building if an appointment is made ahead of time.


In addition to the general information shared with parents, the Superintendent noted there are even more details for teachers and students at each building level.

"One item that you will notice is the requirement to wear a mask in areas designated by the administration and that includes buses and hallways," he said. 

The district has purchased one mask for each child and faculty member. "We have also added masks to the school supply list for all ages," he noted. 

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Parents who do not want their child attending school in the face-t0-face model should contact the Superintendent about enrolling in the Iowa Virtual Academy, which provides the district with a complete online model.

"The district is collaborating with the hospital to contract additional nursing services and we will also be hiring an additional custodial position to assist with disinfecting each classroom on a daily basis," said Superintendent Wahls.

"Please note that this plan will continue to be revised based on new data and guidance from the CDC, Public Health, Department of Education and proclamations from Governor Reynolds," he said.

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