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Ask The Answer Person: "Will school start on time next fall?"

Posted: Mon, May 4, 2020 12:45 PM

(Several readers have asked if we have information about whether classes will start on time in Decorah this fall):

The Answer Person says: "Here's what Decorah School Superintendent Mark Lane says about that question and similar questions: 'Unfortunately, at this time, it is impossible to answer these questions.'  However, Lane notes that all Iowa public schools will be required to submit a "Return to Learning Plan" to the Iowa Department of Education by July 1st.  The Iowa Department of Education is hoping to release guidelines for school districts by Friday of this week.

Here's what Superintendent Lane wrote in a message to parents:

'Given the unpredictability of what the future holds, it will be important for us to consider multiple potential pathways as part of our Return to Learning planning.  Here are some examples of the types of scenarios we will need to consider.

  •     How might we approach the start of the school year if group size and social distancing requirements keep public schools closed when we would normally be returning to school?
  •     How might we approach the start of the school year if we are allowed to begin the 2020-2021 school year earlier than originally planned?
  •     What contingency plans might we put in place in order to pivot to continuous learning quickly if emergency school closures happen during the 2020-2021 school year?
  •     What public health recommended practices and procedures might we put in place to ensure the health and safety of students, staff, and visitors?
While we have already begun these conversations, it will be helpful to receive the full guidance from the Department of Education.  We will use the guidance, and our strategic planning processes to develop a plan.  We will share that plan with our stakeholders, and ultimately submit our plan to the State by July 1st.'"