Header covid-19 return to learn

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated February 2, 2021

The questions below represent the most common questions received regarding the return to fully in-person instruction. We know that there will continue to be additional questions as we navigate this transition and appreciate your patience as we work through them.

We hope this information provides families with the information needed to make the best decision for their family.


LEARNING OPTIONS MOVING FORWARD

Beginning February 15, the district will discontinue its hybrid learning option in order to provide fully-in-person instruction. For the remainder of this school year, the district will offer two learning options:

  • Fully In-Person
  • Fully Online

How do I select the fully in-person or fully online option?
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.

  • Families wishing to STAY IN THE LEARNING MODEL as noted above DO NOT NEED TO TAKE ANY ADDITIONAL ACTION.

Families wishing to move from fully in-person (previously hybrid) to fully online, or from fully online to fully in-person learning must complete the Learning Transition Request Form. A link to the form was included in a message from the district to all families sent by email and text message on Friday, January 29, and is also available by logging into ParentSquare.

Why is the district discontinuing the hybrid learning model?
With the required move to fully in-person learning, it is not feasible to continue offering the hybrid model as a third option. In particular, this is due to the inability to provide adequate spacing and scheduling that would allow for the separation of fully in-person and hybrid students. Separating the programs would also not allow for adequate staffing to run a hybrid model effectively.

Can I select a different learning option for different children?
Yes, parents/guardians will select a learning option for each child, and they may be different.

Can I change between the fully in-person and fully online model?
Academic continuity and adequate staffing are key considerations in the district’s ability to offer both fully in-person and fully online learning models. Requests to change learning methods will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in order to provide the optimal learning experience for the student.

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.

Will students eligible for special education and/or English Language Learner (ELL) support receive those services?
Yes, all students eligible to receive special education and/or English Language Learner support will receive those services. Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams will continue to meet and develop student-specific supports in special education. ELL teachers will also work directly with students and families to support their specific learning needs.


HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR FULLY IN-PERSON LEARNING

Will there be temperature screenings?
Students and staff are asked to self-monitor temperatures daily. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher, or if showing any other signs of illness, should not attend school. A no-cost digital thermometer is available to families to support daily temperature screening.

Will face masks be required?
Yes, face masks will be required for students and staff throughout the school day. According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and public health experts, face masks are a key tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Each student was provided a no-cost face mask from the district at the beginning of the school year. Students entering the district in the middle of the school year will be provided a no-cost face mask upon enrollment. Families are also welcome to provide masks for their own student(s) if they prefer.

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, download the district’s COVID-19 Response Protocol (PDF) and COVID-19 Quarantine + Isolation Guidance (PDF).

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, download the district’s COVID-19 Response Protocol (PDF) and COVID-19 Quarantine + Isolation Guidance (PDF).

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 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.

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.

Will facility cleaning protocols remain in place?
Yes. Custodians will conduct a deep cleaning of each school nightly using hospital-grade disinfectant that can have a residual effect of up to 24 hours. Custodians will also increase the frequency of daytime cleaning of common-touch surfaces including handrails, door handles, etc., using hospital-grade disinfectant. Buildings and grounds staff will work to maintain adequate inventory of building cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, and will regularly inspect ventilation and air handling systems to ensure normal operation.

When will a school or the district close due to COVID-19?
The requirement for school districts to receive approval from the Iowa Department of Education, in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health, in order to move an entire school or district to remote learning remains in place.


DELIVERY OF FULLY IN-PERSON LEARNING

How will the return to fully in-person learning be structured?
We expected that in addition to classroom instruction, the first few days of the return will be focused on reacclimating to the school setting, re-establishing building norms and community building. Instructionally, we will continue to focus on established learning objectives as well as providing social-emotional learning support to students. Moving forward, we will also begin to look at opportunities to address remediation efforts, credit recover and enrichment support.


DELIVERY OF FULLY ONLINE LEARNING

Will students be provided with technology to participate in the fully online learning model?
Yes. Middle and high school students are already provided a district-issued device to support learning through the district’s Anytime, Anywhere Learning Initiative. Each elementary student participating in online learning will also be provided with a district-issued device to support learning. A limited number of internet hotspots are available for checkout by family for students without reliable internet connectivity.

Do students remain students of their school and the Dubuque Community School District if they participate in fully online learning?
Yes. Students will remain Dubuque Community School District students and their school at all times. At the high school level, all credits are granted by the district.

What will the fully online program consist of for elementary-school students?
Students in the fully online program at the elementary school level will be assigned a district teacher who will conduct their instruction. This format will utilize a combination of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (on demand) learning. In particular, this method will utilize Clever, the online system that provides access to district-supported electronic curriculum tools as well as resources provided by classroom teachers; Seesaw, the learning management tool that houses
student lessons and assignments from teachers; and Zoom, the video conferencing tool used to support synchronous (live) class interactions and lessons.

What will the fully online program consist of for middle-school students?
Middle school students will utilize the online Edgenuity platform to support online coursework that best aligns with the student’s schedule. During this learning, middle school students in fully online coursework will be assigned a district teacher advisor who will help monitor course progress, serve as a resource for the student and be in regular contact to ensure that the student is progressing and meeting course goals.

What will the fully online program consist of for high-school students?
High school students will utilize the online Edgenuity platform to support online coursework. Edgenuity includes hundreds of course opportunities and each high school student in the fully online program will work with the school to develop a schedule of classes that meets their individual needs and best aligns with the schedule they previously selected. During the course, all high school students in fully online coursework will be assigned a district high school teacher who will help monitor course progress, serve as a resource for the student and be in regular contact to ensure that the student is progressing and meeting course goals.

How will attendance be determined in the fully online program?
Recognizing that students and families will require flexibility in completing school work on at-home days, a student will be considered in attendance by logging into Clever (at the elementary level) or Edgenuity (at the secondary level) each school day before 11:59 p.m.

Will students in the fully online program have specialist classes (art, music, wellness)?
Yes. Elementary school students will receive learning in specialist areas as part of the fully online program. Middle school students will have delivery of select specialist content through Edgenuity.