DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) -- Leaders with Dubuque Community Schools intend to start the 2020-2021 school year with a hybrid learning format.
In the hybrid model, each primary household in the district will be assigned an A day or B day on which they would attend school in person. On opposite days, students will participate in at-home learning. The district will also offer a completely online option for families not comfortable sending their children to school for in-person learning.
Superintendent Stan Rheingans says the safety of students and staff is at the forefront of the planning process. District officials attended webinars held by the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Their key takeaways were the importance of social distancing, the use of face coverings, hand washing/hand sanitizing and cleaning protocols.
Rheingans says the hybrid option will allow the district to most effectively implement social distancing guidelines. Students and staff will also be required to wear face coverings and other safety, and prevention protocols will be put in place.
The hybrid format will reduce the number of students in buildings at the same time, allowing for social distancing in classrooms and on buses and more space in lunchrooms and hallways.
District officials recently surveyed families and staff about the district’s plans for the fall. Of about 3,300 families who responded, 65% said they would send their students to school if it were offered in a hybrid format. Another 11% said they would not send their students to school, and 24% were unsure.
Staff members were also surveyed about their preferred learning method for the upcoming school year. 44% stated fully in-person learning was their preferred method. 35% preferred a hybrid option. 21% favored an online-only option.
When asked if they would feel comfortable working if opening fully in-person, 38% of staff said yes. 41% said they were unsure. 21% said they would not be comfortable working if schools opened fully on-person.
If the district offered school in a fully in-person format, 56% of respondents said they would send their children to school, 14% said no, and 30% were unsure.
The district also asked parents if they were concerned about their children's mental health and well-being because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 18% said yes, very often or all of the time. 38% said yes, sometimes. 21% said yes, but not very often. 23% said no, they were not concerned.
Board members did not take a formal vote on the recommendation Tuesday, but generally expressed their support for the plan, which will be on the agenda for the board’s Monday, July 20, meeting.
For more from Tuesday's board meeting, click here.