This is an ongoing planning effort from the Lewis Central Community School District that is sure to evolve as further guidance is provided from the State and Federal levels along with our local Department of Public Health. Decisions pertaining to this plan will be dependent upon the ongoing guidance we receive. We ask that all families and staff members realize this is a fluid situation, and various details will finalize as we approach the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Our Goal

The Lewis Central Community School District remains committed to our students, families and staff, and it is our goal to maximize learning regardless of the mode we are in or the restrictions we may face. We plan to do our very best at being responsive to the needs and concerns of our community. While we don’t expect everything to be perfect, we plan to do all that is within our ability to ensure a safe return to our campuses for our students, along with an alternative for those who cannot be present in our classrooms.

Important Points

The State of Iowa has made it very clear that we are expected to return to in-person learning on our campuses unless our local Department of Public Health recommends a different plan. Based upon all the conversations that have ensued between our district administration and the appropriate agencies, we will follow these expectations and at this time we are preparing to return to in-person learning for our students.

We have created a robust, online continuous learning mode that we will be prepared to implement if we are ordered closed again at any point in the future for the COVID-19 pandemic or any other potential matter. If the online continuous learning mode were to be implemented, it would be required for all students. The utilization of our online continuous learning is discussed later in this document regarding the potential for a complete school closure and for students unable to be in attendance in our schools.

One important key to keeping schools open is keeping sick students home. If your child(ren) exhibit one or more of the symptoms listed here by the CDC, please keep them home. You may also refer to guidance posted here from the Iowa Department of Public Health on Evaluating Sick Students and Staff.

Table of Contents

Specific Details Pertaining to Mitigation Efforts With Our Return Planning

Click each topic below to learn more.

Face Coverings

The safety and well-being of students and staff is always the District's highest priority. Face coverings have been proven to be an effective mitigation effort against the spread of COVID-19. To this end, the District will provide and require all students and staff to wear appropriate face coverings throughout the school day. The District reached this decision based upon objective information and by relying upon local, state, and federal guidelines.

Students and staff may wear the following appropriate face coverings. For more information about the types of appropriate face coverings, including how to wash and make your own, visit this CDC webpage.

The District acknowledges that there will be certain situations where this requirement may not be appropriate or attainable. If any student or staff member has a medical condition that may affect their ability to wear a face covering, they should contact their building principal.

Social Distancing Efforts

We will be implementing many efforts to socially distance our students as much as possible and as often as possible.

Our efforts will include but are not limited to:

    • Assessing and altering classroom seating arrangements to better utilize the entire classroom and create more space between our students.

    • Reinforcing students using only their own materials such as manipulatives and other resources.

    • Staggering classroom dismissal times when possible in our individual buildings.

    • Implementing directional restrictions and markings in our hallways whenever possible for our individual buildings.

    • Implementing the concept of having teachers or staff change locations while students remain in a specific classroom in certain circumstances and whenever possible in our individual buildings.

    • Altering entrance and exit procedures for classrooms during class time.

    • Altering lunch protocols, including increasing the number of lunch times and periods, expanding locations in which students eat lunch, spreading out lunch tables and limiting seating at lunch tables. We will stagger lunch dismissal times and serving times, and in some unique cases, bag lunches may be brought to the students.

    • Altering school dismissal procedures in our two elementary schools, eliminating the need for parents to enter the school buildings.

    • Implementing mask utilization as a mitigation strategy to help with:

      • Hallway travel throughout our schools.

      • Standing in lines for lunch servings.

      • Limited small group instruction that includes social distancing.

      • Limited one-on-one instruction that includes social distancing.

    • Eliminating large group student assemblies until further notice.

    • Excluding non-essential visitors, volunteers, and outside groups.

    • Implementing high expectations for students to monitor their own social distancing. We will not condone students gathering in large groups.

    • Expecting parents to support and reinforce these expectations with their students.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Our efforts include but are not limited to the following:

    • Altering and increasing cleaning schedules and procedures to meet the needs of keeping our classrooms sanitized on a daily basis and as needed.

    • Utilizing newly purchased equipment such as electrostatic sprayers.

    • Providing an abundance of hand sanitizer to students and staff in every classroom, at entrances and throughout our buildings.

    • Implementing protocols of leaving classroom doors open whenever possible to minimize the number of hands touching door handles. Disinfecting wipes will be available to our staff to frequently sanitize door handles.

    • Implementing hand hygiene protocols, including times that will be scheduled for students and staff to wash their hands frequently throughout the school day and at appropriate times.

Transportation

This remains one of our biggest challenges for a return during the COVID-19 pandemic. In typical situations, we tend to run low on the needed number of bus drivers. It is not feasible to double the size of our transportation team. In light of these facts, our efforts will include but are not limited to:

    • Encouraging any and all parents who can arrange to transport their children to and from school, to please do so in an effort to diminish the number of students on buses.

    • Providing parents who are willing to provide their own transportation time considerations with getting their children to school.

    • Minimizing the number of students on buses to allow for more social distancing.

    • Implementing mask utilization for all students on school buses. It will also be the expectation for our transportation staff to utilize masks.

    • Sanitizing our buses with electrostatic sprayers on a daily basis between morning and afternoon routes, and again in the evening.

    • Implementing student health checks (mentioned below) every morning, prior to leaving their home.

We will begin the year as we would any other year. If we have drivers that test positive for COVID-19, we will first utilize our substitute drivers. If we have all our substitute drivers driving and we continue to have drivers test positive, we will first need to know the number of students that need transportation.

Considerations include:

  • Possibly create a third tier and/or extend routes

  • Determine if an adjacent route has room

  • Robo call asking parents to take students

  • Have vans pick up students

  • Consider modifying school drop off/pick up times

  • Combine HS/MS students with elementary students

Things we will continue to monitor that impact transportation routes include the number of students participating in remote learning, students being dropped off/picked up and students on each bus for both the AM/PM routes.

If we have too many drivers testing positive, the difficulty to provide sustainable transportation may cause the District to consider remote learning.

Health Screening and Monitoring

We are putting many efforts and protocols in place to monitor the health of our students and staff. These efforts include but are not limited to:

    • Implementing plans for daily health and symptom checks for students and staff through various means prior to coming to school.

    • Requiring students and staff who show symptoms through their daily health checks not to attend school and to visit with their medical professional before returning symptom free.

    • Reviewing and altering attendance policies, as we know there will be greater attendance issues during this pandemic. We will implement equipment allowing us better capability of quickly assessing student and staff temperatures.

    • Establishing various triage zones so students with minor issues or those needing medication will not be coupled with students showing symptoms such as fevers.

    • Altering our protocols for parents picking up children who become ill, and not requiring them to enter the school buildings.

    • Reporting any known positive cases COVID-19 immediately to the Pottawattamie Department of Public Health, and completely following their guidance regarding any needed quarantines and protocols. Click here to read their approach to reopening schools.

Click here to read the email sent to all parents on August 10 from our District nurses regarding updated health office procedures.

Fall Sports, Concerts and Large Activity Gatherings

We have created a website specific to our fall activity guidelines here.

Documented Health Concerns and Other Extenuating Circumstances for Students

Students with documented health concerns or other extenuating concerns and circumstances will be provided an online learning opportunity. We want our families to know we will be responsive to the needs and concerns of our community, and upon request we will work with you on a case-by-case basis to determine the best plan for each child.

We cannot express enough that we will be responsive to the needs and concerns of our families, and we will work hard to meet the individual needs of all our students.

Various Learning Modes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Click each topic below to learn more.

On Campus: In-Person Learning

Students return to the school building for a traditional model of learning with the above mitigation efforts in place. Students with documented health concerns or other extenuating concerns and circumstances will be provided an online learning opportunity. We will be responsive to the needs and concerns of our community, and upon request we will work with families on a case-by-case basis to determine the best plan for each child. At this point it is our intent to be “On Campus” for the start of the 2020-2021 School Year beginning August 25, 2020.

You can learn more about steps each building is taking to prepare for in-person learning and guidelines for those who be learning online at this time by clicking here.

Off Campus: Required Continuous Online Learning

Students would not report to school but they would be required to engage in a robust online learning platform provided by the district. The required continuous online learning mode will include daily schedules and regular contact with educators. Attendance will be taken. This mode would include students completing work for grades and completing graded assessments. We would utilize this mode if our school district were ordered closed again by the State or Federal Government, or by our local Department of Public Health. Our campuses would not be open and activities/events would not proceed during the time of the closure. However, depending on the length of the closure, we may attempt to organize opportunities to have students report to On Campus: In-person Learning on occasion, in varied groups.

Hybrid: Split Schedule

We do have the concept of a split schedule mode that we would only move toward further developing and implementing if the situation was deemed appropriate. However, we want to be clear that we consider this the least desirable mode, as we feel student learning and progress would be significantly impacted. The concept would involve dividing our student population in half and having only 50% of our student population in school at one time or alternating days. The student population would be divided district-wide, so families with multiple siblings would attend school on the same days. On days when students would not be present at school, they would login for attendance and work online as required by the State. .

The intent with this concept would be to further maximize our ability to socially distance students. We do not feel this benefit would outweigh the concerns regarding progress for our students. It is not our intent to utilize this mode under the current circumstances. We feel that Mode A or Mode B would better equip us with the ability to provide a meaningful and progressive education experience.

FAQs

Click each question below to learn more.

Can a superintendent or the local Board of Education decide to keep their school district closed to start the 2020-2021 school year?

Based upon the language included in the Governor’s recent proclamation, the answer is no. Iowa public schools have been ordered to open for the fall with in-person, on-campus learning. Going forward, the State must approve any district’s request to close their doors based upon COVID-19 concerns.

Is online learning an option for Lewis Central families who do not want to send their children back to school in-person and on-campus?

Lewis Central remains committed to our students and families, and we will do our very best to be responsive to individual needs. Families were given the option to begin the school year learning online during registration.

How does a family notify the district of their intent to pursue an online option for their child?

Parents had the option to choose online learning during the student registration process. Because of staffing decisions that needed to be made for both online and in-person learning, families needed to notify the district prior to August 14th of their decision.

If we choose to start the school year online, can we come back to in-person learning?

Yes, even if you start the school year online, you can come back to in-school learning. For planning and staffing purposes, at this time we are asking that families who choose the online option to maintain in that mode through the current trimester. If you decide to come back to in-person learning, we ask that you let your child(ren)'s school know by Friday, October 30, 2020 to return for Trimester 2 and Friday, February 12, 2021 to return for Trimester 3. This allows us the time to make sure we have the proper staffing in place.

You can find the school calendar here.

Will preschool be offered online?

While we are in in-person learning mode, we will not be hosting a separate online preschool unless the student has a documented IEP. If we were required to move into an online learning mode, those who were participating in in-person learning will be provided continued learning online. If you have questions, please contact the Kreft office.

Will face coverings be required for students and staff in LC when the school year begins?

It will be the district’s expectation that all students and staff utilize face coverings. We understand that there will be exceptions to this expectation, and we know there will be times during the day where a mask isn’t feasible, e.g. lunch. It is our current expectation for face coverings to be utilized by all employees and all students.

Will all students be kept 6 feet apart at all times throughout each school day?

While we will make every effort to socially distance our students, we are not capable of maintaining 6 feet of distance between our students at all times. This has much to do with the expectation that face coverings will be utilized as a mitigation effort, per recommendations from health experts. Please see details about social distancing in the full plan.

How often will schools, classrooms and buses be sanitized?

Classrooms will be sanitized with appropriate cleaning materials, including electrostatic disinfectors, every day and on an as needed basis during the day. Our buses will be sanitized each evening and between the a.m. and p.m. routes.

Will all students be socially distanced on LC school buses?

Due to the size of our fleet and our ongoing shortage of bus drivers, we are not able to diminish the number of students on each of our school buses. As a mitigation effort, we will be expecting that face coverings are utilized by all students and staff. We are also asking parents who are capable of providing their own student transportation to and from school, to do so in an effort to diminish our transportation numbers.

Will students and staff who are showing illness symptoms remain in attendance at their LC school?

Students and staff who have symptoms should not report to school. We will be providing help for self-assessments to be utilized at home by students and staff for health monitoring. Students or staff members who develop symptoms during the day will be sent home and asked to confer with their doctors. You can see the health office protocols emailed out by our school nurses on August 10th here.

If a child develops symptoms during the school day, what will happen?

Students who develop symptoms during the school day will be assessed in a different location than students needing other medical attention or daily medications. We will create two different triage zones for managing our students’ medical needs. If a student has COVID-19 symptoms, parents will be notified to pick up their child.

You can learn more about health office protocols here.

If a staff member develops symptoms at any time, what will happen?

If a staff member has symptoms, they will not report to work and will be asked to consult with their doctor. If it is determined that a COVID-19 test is necessary, the staff member will not return to work until they receive an all clear from a doctor.

How will parents know if a quarantine is necessary for their child?

If at any time we have a student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19, we will confer with the Pottawattamie County Department of Public Health. Through their consultation with the student/family or staff member, we will follow their guidance regarding any and all needs for quarantining.

Will school close if a child tests positive?

These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. All decisions will be made in conjunction with our local public health department.

Will LC continue to communicate changes to the plan as more guidance is provided by local, state and federal authorities?

Yes. Guidance and protocols are changing on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. Any time we receive information that is critical to the start of our school year, we will communicate accordingly with our LC families in a timely manner.

Can I rewatch the July 20, 2020, Board Meeting where this plan was discussed?

Yes. The full board meeting can be viewed by clicking here. In the description of the YouTube video, you will see two time stamps that will take you to specific points in the meeting where the plan was discussed and then voted on by the Board.

If the district is forced to change school models, will students be familiar with the tools they are expected to use at home?

In most cases, yes. Some younger students may be new to Seesaw or Google Classroom, but it’s our intention that teachers will be utilizing those from the beginning of the school year to get kids familiar with them in case we need to enter a continuous online learning mode.

How would families get technology support while LC is in a continuous online learning mode?

Technology support will be available from 8:00 - 4:00 pm, Monday - Friday, to provide support to faculty, students, and parenting adults, and provide the necessary support and recommendations for effective technology usage. Parents may contact District tech support by emailing our Help Desk or calling them at 712-366-8555. Families who do not currently have internet access at their home or would like to check out a student Chromebook may do so at the same email address.

Concluding Thoughts

The Lewis Central Community School District remains committed to our students, families and staff, and it is our goal to maximize learning regardless of the mode we are in or the restrictions we may face. We plan to do our very best at being responsive to the needs and concerns of our community. We look forward to our continued efforts to create the best possible experience for our students and staff. Please know we will remain committed to communicating any and all relevant information pertaining to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Additional Resources