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Linn-Mar Community School District releases initial Return to Learn Plan

LINN-MAR1

MARION, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Linn-Mar Community School District has released its initial Return to Learn Plan which outlines in-person learning to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

Right now, the district is preparing to return to in-person learning for the beginning of the school year starting on August 24th as originally scheduled. Superintendent Shannon Bisgard says a final decision on which model will be used to start the year will be made around August 1st. Families that aren't comfortable returning to on-site learning can apply to participate in online learning as part of a Hybrid Option.

Students and staff in 1st-12th grades will be required to wear face coverings unless social distancing can be practiced. Face coverings are encouraged for Pre-K and Kindergarten students. The district will provide one mask per student, and one mask and one face shield per staff member.

Students will be required to have their temperatures checked at home by a parent or guardian before coming to school. Staff will be required to check their temperatures before reporting to work.

Linn-Mar Schools will follow these guidelines from Linn County Public Health in regards to student attendance:

"Students that are identified to have a positive case of COVID-19 will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days. Anyone that was within 6 feet of this individual for 15 minutes or longer, will also be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days."

Linn County Public Health

Students who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or test positive must immediately notify their building's nurse or health assistant, according to the district.

Every student will be assigned a learning device to help limit exposure to COVID-19. Pre-K and Kindergarten students will be assigned an iPad. 1st-12th grade students will be assigned a laptop. If a student is self-isolating or if school moves to exclusive online learning, students will be able to take their devices home. Devices will be returned to the district at the end of the school year.

All students will have assigned seating and be required to wear face coverings while on school buses. Buses will be disinfected after each route and capacity will be reduced to roughly 60%. Windows and vents will be opened to allow for air circulation whenever possible. Hand sanitizer will also be available on all buses.

An increased emphasis will be placed on cleaning and disinfecting facilities on a daily and weekly basis. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available throughout schools. Physical barriers will be added in office areas. Drinking fountains will be turned off and students will have increased time for hand-washing.

Classrooms will be restructured to abide by social distancing as much as possible. Class sizes for physical education, band, choir and orchestra will be reduced when possible. Student assemblies will not be held and the number of students will be limited in common areas. Class times will be staggered as much as possible to accommodate social distancing guidelines during passing times. Hallways will be one-directional or clearly marked as two-way.

Students will eat meals in the cafeterias abiding by social distancing guidelines as much as possible. Additional areas may be available to address social distancing needs. Meal times will be staggered and self-serve stations will be discontinued. One grade level will have recess at a time and students will be required to wash/disinfect their hands upon re-entering buildings.

All district buildings will have signs posted regarding hand-washing, symptoms, face coverings, visitor policies, and lunch procedures.

The district says the current draft of the Return to Learn Plan is based on information and guidance from public health officials and the Department of Education. The guidelines are fluid and will be adjusted as the pandemic situation continues to evolve.

To read the Linn-Mar Community School District's initial Return to Learn Plan in its entirety, which also outlines plans for hybrid and online learning, click here.

Trevor Oates

Executive Producer

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