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Iowa City Schools reviewing transition to hybrid learning

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - Tuesday night at 5 p.m. the Iowa City School Board discussed the continuation of their current return to learn plan.

Iowa City Schools was granted another waiver from the state on Friday September 11. The district's current waiver is set to expire on September 22, the new waiver would then go into effect for another two weeks.

The Director of Iowa's Department of Education, Ann Lebo, says the waiver was granted based on a 14-day positivity rate of 20.4 for Johnson County.

As of Tuesday, the positivity rate in Johnson County was 13.45 percent.

The district predicts the 14-day positivity rate for the county will drop below 10 percent by Friday, and will consider returning to hybrid learning of 50 percent in-person and 50 percent online. Interim Superintendent Matt Degner says the decision will be announced to families on Friday.

"“I think we’ve stayed firm in our commitment that we’re not going to roll the dice in regard to health and safety, knowing we would have a large influx of young adults into our community," Interim Superintendent Matt Degner said.

Degner says the district will spend the week of Sept. 21 taking steps to transition from online to the hybrid learning model.

The district will be launching it's own COVID-19 dashboard on its website in the coming weeks, this will help families see information on students and staff numbers that test positive for the coronavirus.

The district currently supplies internet resources to over 1,000 households. In the last week, 164 households requested internet access to help students with online learning.

600 families are receiving direct internet service through Mediacom. Another 400 families currently are using WiFi hotspots, but the district sees the hotspots as temporary. The data given to each WiFi hotspot is maxed out at 10 GB per month, but the district is looking to upgrade to 25 GB per month.

The long term goal according to the district is looking at giving more direct internet to homes.

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Vinny Lowerre

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