Skip to main content

COVID-19

Header covid-19 return to learn

Weather-Related Virtual Learning Days

Dear Dubuque Schools Families,

As I’m sure you know, with the three snow days we have had to date, the last day of school is currently scheduled for Friday, June 4.

Moving the school year into the next week has the potential to create significant community impact including summer programming by community partners, staff taking additional courses at area colleges, planned vacations, etc.

FOR THIS YEAR ONLY, the State of Iowa has granted schools permission to hold virtual learning days for inclement weather while allowing those days to count toward the district’s instructional time requirement.

There are no current weather forecasts that indicate an upcoming weather event, but we want to be proactive about our next steps should we encounter another one during this school year.

Moving forward, if weather impacts our in-person schedule, the district will transition to a virtual learning day rather than a closure. This day will count as a school day and participation is expected.

Should a virtual day be required, instruction for in-person students will operate similar to the fully online week held following Thanksgiving:

  • elementary students will have a scheduled class Zoom as well as access to recorded core content area lessons and assigned work
  • secondary students will attend class periods via Zoom as scheduled

Fully online students will continue instruction as they do on a normal school day.

Schools will provide additional details and expectations for logging on and completing learning for the day.

While I hope we do not have to implement this weather plan, I’m confident that we are prepared to if necessary. As with all things, I continue to appreciate your ongoing flexibility as we move through this year.

Sincerely,
Stan Rheingans
Superintendent

header-return-to-learn-meals

Grab N’ Go Meal Site Location and Time Change, Feb. 15

Beginning Monday, Feb. 15, the location and time for Grab n’ Go meal locations in the Dubuque Community School District will change as the district returns to primarily fully in-person learning.

No-cost meal service will be available at a Grab n’ Go meal site to all students in the fully online learning model, as well as any individual 18 or under (with no infant formula or food served), regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in a district school.

New location and time:

  • Dubuque Community School District Central Office / Forum (2300 Chaney Road, located in the rear parking lot): 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

All “Grab n’ Go” meal bags will consist of a breakfast meal and a lunch meal that meets USDA meal guidelines.

Header covid-19 return to learn

Return-to-Learn FAQs and Selection Extension

As we prepare for the return to fully-in person instruction, we are hoping to answer some common questions from families to assist in making the choice of which learning model to select moving forward.

In order to provide the time to make an informed decision, we are EXTENDING the deadline for those wishing to change learning models until THURSDAY, FEB. 4.

REMINDER: For planning purposes, we are assuming that students in the hybrid model will move to fully in-person learning, and students in the fully online model will remain in that learning option.

IF YOU PLAN TO STAY IN THE LEARNING MODEL AS NOTED ABOVE, NO ADDITIONAL ACTION IS NECESSARY.

If you wish to make a change to your learning model, COMPLETE THE FORM IN PARENTSQUARE.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the return to fully in-person instruction.

VIEW THE COMPLETE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PAGE ON OUR WEBSITE

How will social distancing work in school?

While social distancing in classrooms, lunchrooms, buses and other common spaces will be reduced with students returning to fully in-person learning, we are working to reconfigure and maximize our learning spaces to provide distancing to the extent possible.

What happens if an individual in a school exhibits symptoms, is awaiting test results, or tests positive for COVID-19?

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Iowa Department of Public Health and Dubuque County Public Health Department:

  • Individuals with ANY high risk COVID-19 symptom or TWO OR MORE low risk COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and contact a healthcare provider.
    • If the individual receives an alternative diagnosis by a licensed medical healthcare provider, they will be asked to provide documentation of the diagnosis to the school.
    • If the individual does not receive an evaluation by a licensed medical healthcare provider, they will be instructed to self-isolate for 10 calendar days following the onset of symptoms.
  • Individuals who have been tested for COVID-19 should stay home while awaiting test results.
  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to self-isolate for 10 calendar days following the onset of symptoms OR 10 calendar days from the date the positive test was administered if the individual is asymptomatic.

For more information, including the district’s COVID-19 Response Protocol and a guide to how the number of quarantine or isolation days are calculated, visit www.dbqschools.org/return-to-learn.

If there is a positive case at school, who will be notified and who will be required to quarantine for 10-days?

Per guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health:

  • Individuals who are exposed to a positive case with both parties wearing a face mask will be instructed to monitor for symptoms for 10 calendar days after last exposure to positive case. If symptoms develop within the 10 days, individuals should stay home and contact a healthcare provider. Parents/guardians will receive an email notification including the date of exposure and instructions on monitoring for symptoms.
  • Individuals who are exposed to a positive case with one or both parties not wearing a face mask will be instructed to self-quarantine at home for 10 calendar days after last exposure to positive case. Parents/guardians will receive a phone notification including the date of exposure and instructions on quarantining.

For more information, including the district’s COVID-19 Response Protocol and a guide to how the number of quarantine or isolation days are calculated, visit www.dbqschools.org/return-to-learn.

Will school bus transportation change from how it is currently operating in the hybrid model?

Yes. Social distancing will be most impacted depending on the number of students riding each day. All other mitigation strategies will remain in place, including:

  • All buses will be sanitized daily.
  • Students will be required to wear face masks while on the school bus.
  • Sanitizer will be available for students upon boarding.
  • Seats will be assigned.
  • Based on the recommendation of public health experts, windows will be down following the district’s temperature and weather guidelines to increase ventilation.

As always, families may choose to arrange their own transportation to and from school at any time.

How will meal service work?

Many of the protocols used during lunch in the hybrid model will continue to be in place when we transition to fully in-person learning, with a focus on maximizing our spaces to the extent possible.

  • Space for cafeteria lines will be maximized to allow for as much social distancing as possible.
  • The number of serving lines will be increased to reduce the number of students using each line, as needed.
  • Additional common spaces will be utilized for lunch to reduce the number of students in one area as possible, if needed.
  • Students will continue to wear masks in the serving lines and when not seated at their table.

In addition to these practices, seats in dining areas will be consistent from day to day. Seats will be assigned to ELEMENTARY and MIDDLE SCHOOL students, and self-selected by HIGH SCHOOL students.

  • Seating in dining areas will be structured in a way that maximizes social distancing, and seating at tables will be limited as follows:
    • A maximum of six (6) students at a 12-foot rectangular tablE
    • A maximum of five (5) students at a 10-foot rectangular table
    • A maximum of four (4) students at a round table.

My child already knows their teacher, will that change?

Students moving from the fully online model to the fully in-person model will be assigned a teacher at their home school. While our goal is to maintain consistency in teacher assignments for both learning models, there may be some students who are reassigned teachers as part of our efforts to reduce class sizes and maintain social distancing to the extent possible.

Header covid-19 return to learn

Return to Fully In-Person Instruction, Feb. 15

Last night, both chambers of the Iowa Legislature passed a bill requiring schools to return to fully in-person instruction on Monday, Feb. 15, and this morning the Governor signed the bill into law. Given this, we are moving forward with plans to resume fully in-person instruction on that day. As you know, we have been actively planning for this transition.

SAFETY MEASURES

As a district, we remain committed to providing the safest possible environment for our students and staff. We will maintain many of the significant mitigation efforts that have been in place throughout the school year, including:

  • Consistent and correct use of masks
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with local health department

Our ability to maintain one of our other key strategies – social distancing – will be most impacted by a required move to fully in-person learning. While we will continue to maximize our spaces and provide social distancing to the extent possible, it is important to know that our ability to do so will be greatly reduced when students return to school daily. This includes classroom setups, lunch configurations, and while on school buses, among others.

With social distancing ability reduced, our collective diligence in maintaining the safety measures listed above will be essential in our continued mitigation efforts.

LEARNING OPTIONS

With the move to fully in-person learning, the district will discontinue its hybrid learning option. Beginning February 15, the district will offer two learning options for the remainder of this school year:

  • Fully Online
  • Fully In-Person

IMPORTANT NOTE: For planning purposes, we are assuming that students in the hybrid model will move to fully in-person learning, and students in the fully online model will remain in that learning option.

IF YOU PLAN TO STAY IN THE LEARNING MODEL AS NOTED ABOVE, NO ADDITIONAL ACTION IS NECESSARY.

If you wish to move from fully in-person (previously hybrid) to fully online, or from fully online to fully in-person learning, COMPLETE OUR LEARNING TRANSITION REQUEST FORM NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY, FEB. 3.

As we move forward, the safety of our students and staff remains at the forefront of our decision making and we will work hard to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Header covid-19 return to learn

Updated Spectator Guidelines: January 8, 2021

Last night, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds updated her Public Health Disaster Proclamation, which included modifications to the spectator guidelines for high school sports.

Social distancing requirements are still in place at high school events. Based on the latest update to the proclamation, the following spectator guidelines will be in place for district events effective immediately:

  • Admission will still be limited based on available capacity, with students and families of participants receiving priority.
  • There will be NO general admission tickets available to the general public.
  • All spectators MUST have an approved wristband to acquire admission to the event.
  • Masks are REQUIRED to be worn by spectators at all times
  • All spectators should practice appropriate social distancing and abide by posted signage and directions from event staff.
  • Individuals are asked to stay home if:
    • Exhibiting any symptoms of illness or have a temperature of 100.4 or above.
    • Awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past ten (10) days or have been a close contact to someone who has COVID-19 in the past ten (10) days.

Thank you for your continued support of our students as we work to keep our extracurricular activities as safe as possible!

Header covid-19 return to learn

Return-to-Learn Update: Jan. 7

Dear Dubuque Schools Families,

On Tuesday night at the Educational Programs Committee of the School Board, the Return-to-Learn Update included some discussion about how and when a return of hybrid students to fully in-person instruction may be possible.

Most important to note is that there were no recommendations of when such a move would occur, no specific timeframes outlined, and no decisions made.

If you hear rumors to the contrary, they are untrue.

Instead, the meeting included discussion of the many factors and considerations involved in making a move to fully in-person instruction, and a look at some additional data such as the active cases of COVID in the district over the course of the school year, as well as some very preliminary information about the academic progression of our hybrid students compared to last year.

At its meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, the Board will continue its discussion — and, as a public school district, that conversation will occur during a public Board meeting. In advance of Monday’s meeting, we also continue to collect additional data to aid the discussion.

This meeting will be broadcast on Mediacom Channel 117.6 or 16, and view the Zoom link on the School Board webpage

There may or may not be action taken at the meeting regarding next steps, however it is important that the conversation occurs.

There are many perspectives and opinions regarding when to move back to fully in-person learning and as we look into the future, it is important for us to have these discussions so that we can take the many considerations before us into account and be fully prepared for a move whenever it is possible.

Thankful for your continued support of our students during this challenging year.

Sincerely,
Stan Rheingans
Superintendent of Schools

header-return-to-learn-meals

No-Cost Meal Sites from December 28-30

12/29 UPDATE: Due to the incoming winter storm, there will be NO in-person pick-up on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Instead, all meal sites will serve meals today for both Tuesday, Dec. 29, and Wednesday, Dec. 30. 

There will be no meal service on Thursday, Dec. 31, or Friday, Jan. 1.

The Dubuque Community School District will provide NO-COST meals for anyone 18 or under (no infant formula will be provided) from Monday, Dec. 28, through Wednesday, Dec. 30.

All Grab n’ Go meal bags will consist of a breakfast meal and lunch meal that meets USDA meal guidelines.

LOCATIONS AND TIMES

  • Hempstead High School (located in the back by softball fields): 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Washington Middle School (located at the south side entrance): 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Prescott Elementary School (located in bus drive-up lane): 11-11:45 a.m.
  • Fulton Elementary School (located in bus drive-up lane): Noon-12:45 p.m.
header-return-to-learn-meals

No-Cost Meal Sites from November 30-December 4

With all students in the Dubuque Community School District moving to remote learning for one week following Thanksgiving, the district is expanding grab-and-go meal sites during that time.

NO-COST meals will be available for anyone 18 or under (no infant formula will be provided) from Monday, Nov. 30, through Friday, Dec. 4.

All Grab n’ Go meal bags will consist of a breakfast meal and lunch meal that meets USDA meal guidelines.

LOCATIONS AND TIMES

  • Audubon Elementary School (located on Lincoln Ave): 11:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m.
  • Fulton Elementary School (located in bus drive up lane): Noon-12:45 p.m.
  • Hempstead High School (located in the back parking lot near softball fields): 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Prescott Elementary School (located in bus drive up lane): 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
  • Senior High School (located in bus drive up lane): 12:30-1 p.m.
  • Super 20 Mobile Home Park (14501 North Cascade Road) WALK-UP ONLY: 12:20-12:40 p.m.
  • Table Mound Trailer Park (DOT side) (700 Noonan Street) WALK-UP ONLY: 11-11:20 a.m.
  • Table Mound Trailer Park (Casey’s side) (1221 Maquoketa Drive) WALK-UP ONLY: 11:40 a.m.-Noon
  • Washington Middle School (located at the south side entrance): 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

NOVEMBER 3-DECEMBER 4 MENU

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30
Breakfast: Cereal with grahams, craisins, fruit juice, milk
Lunch: Mozzarella breadsticks, assorted fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, milk

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1
Breakfast: Mini pancakes, craisins, fruit juice, milk
Lunch: Chicken patty on a bun, assorted fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, milk

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2
Breakfast: Mini waffles, craisins, fruit juice, milk
Lunch: Cheese pizza, assorted fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, milk

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3
Breakfast: Mini French toast, craisins, fruit juice, milk
Lunch: Hamburger on a bun, assorted fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, milk

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4
Breakfast: Cereal bar with grahams, craisins, fruit juice, milk
Lunch: Hotdog on a bun, assorted fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, milk

Header covid 19 return to learn

Transition to Remote Learning from Nov. 30-Dec. 4

Dear Families,

As you know, we have been closely and continuously monitoring the COVID-19 situation in our schools and community.

Our hybrid learning model continues to work as designed. Our ability to operate this model from the beginning of the school year through Thanksgiving is a testament to the staff and students who have continued to make this model successful. At the same time, we have seen significant spikes in COVID-19 cases following holidays and want to be prepared for a spike following Thanksgiving.

A PREVENTATIVE ACTION STEP
Following Thanksgiving, we plan to temporarily move to remote learning for ALL STUDENTS for ONE WEEK from Monday, Nov. 30, through Friday, Dec. 4.

  • The district has applied for a waiver from the Iowa Department of Education for this move.
  • Additional details about remote learning and meal availability during this time will be shared in upcoming days.
  • Our intent is to return to hybrid learning on Monday, Dec. 7.

WHY TAKE THIS STEP?
This move is designed to provide an extra layer of protection to students and staff, as the vast majority of individuals will exhibit symptoms within 10 days following exposure.

  • Again, this measure is NOT due to spread of COVID-19 in buildings.
  • This move to remote learning will provide a 12-day break from in-person instruction and 10-days post-Thanksgiving.
  • We recognize that this is an inconvenience, but it will have great long-term benefit in allowing us to continue in-person learning moving forward.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR FAMILIES?
We understand that this temporary move will require adjustments for families.

  • Fully online students will continue instruction on these days as scheduled.
  • For those in the hybrid model, this move will require families to make arrangements for students to be at home during that week for two additional days (A-day students) or three additional days (B-day students).
  • During this time, we urge families to continue taking the necessary steps to social distance, wear masks and to monitor for any symptoms.
  • Any individuals who develop symptoms should follow the steps outlined in the district’s COVID-19 Response Protocol.

Our ongoing mitigation strategies, combined with enhanced preventative restrictions across the county/state and optimistic news on the horizon regarding vaccine development, will allow this break to set us up to move forward with as little disruption as possible in the future.

Thank you for playing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and for your ongoing support of our students.

Sincerely,
Stan Rheingans
Superintendent

Header covid-19 return to learn

Coronavirus Update: Nov. 6

Dear DCSD Families and Staff,

As many of you know, we continue to see COVID-19 cases increases in our community and our state. And, with Dubuque County’s 14-day positivity rate breaking the 20% threshold, we have received a number of questions about the impact of COVID-19 on schools moving forward.

At this time, we will continue to operate in our hybrid model with the fully online option in place for those desiring it.

The strong mitigation strategies in place across the district (including mandated mask wearing and social distancing in school settings) continue with daily reinforcement to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff while they are in our buildings.

Our hybrid system was designed with the assumption that COVID-19 was present in our community, and we feel confident in maintaining this model at this time for two key reasons:

  1. In almost every instance, contact tracing efforts have linked positive cases in the district to activities or interactions unrelated to school or school-sponsored activities.
    • Most frequently, this is tied to another household member being positive or from attendance at a social gathering – even small ones!
    • A look at the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard shows that active, positive cases are widely spread out across the district.
  2. Our absentee rate due to illness remains within normal limits. Over the past two weeks, the district has averaged a daily student absentee rate due to illness of just over 3%.

We continue to be amazed with how well our students and staff have adapted to the many changes and are so proud of their ongoing commitment to following the health and safety protocols in place.

BUT, WE ARE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS.

While we believe schools are a safe learning environment for students, we remain very concerned about the upward surge of COVID-19 cases in our county and state. If we do not enhance personal mitigation practices throughout our community, all current data indicates we will see the surge continue to grow and put immense pressure on our community.

We are doing everything in our power to maintain consistency in our learning model. As we move forward, we will continuously monitor COVID-19 data in our schools and community. We continue to plan for a variety of future scenarios, including plans to move back to fully in-person learning when it is safe to do so or to move classrooms, buildings or the district to fully remote learning should conditions necessitate.

TO MAINTAIN CONSISTENT LEARNING, WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW MORE THAN EVER!

If community numbers continue to rise, they have the potential to impact district staffing and student attendance levels, while also putting additional strain on our community healthcare system – all of which could jeopardize our ability to maintain consistent operations.

WE CAN CHANGE THE COURSE, BUT WE CAN’T LET OUR GUARD DOWN.

Please, on behalf of our students and staff, be diligent:

  • Wear a mask and social distance.
  • Limit indoor gatherings.
  • Wash your hands.
  • In every interaction you have, ask yourself “Does this behavior put me, my family or others at risk?”

As a community, the ability to reduce COVID-19 transmission is a challenge that we collectively have the power to change. Thank you for playing your part in doing so.

Sincerely,
Stan Rheingans
Superintendent