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What are Iowa’s largest school districts planning for their Return to Learn?



IOWA, Iowa — During her press conference last Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said the current “Return to Learn” guidelines are a starting point for the potential return to the classroom.

“These are guidelines we are using to base on further discussion on when they can move to a classroom or going temporary online within the discussion,” Reynolds said.

More than 490,000 K-12 students in Iowa were enrolled as of October 2019. That data, provided by the Iowa Legislative Services Agency (LSA), is used for the rest of this article.

Here’s a look at how Iowa’s largest school districtsning for their Return to Learn this fall:

Des Moines

A total of 32,607 students were enrolled at the Des Moines Public School (DMPS) district in October 2019. The district makes up around 6.7%  of the state’s entire enrollment.

DMPS was among a few school districts to dfy the law with their Return to Learn plans. As of Thursday, the district is looking to update their official plans for the fall as soon as this week Thomas Ahart says in part:

“Although I don’t have a plan to share with you at this moment, we are working on little else: bending over backward in our work with the Governor, the Iowa Department of Education, and public health professionals to offer a plan that is in compliance with the state and is congruent with our primary objective: protecting the health and safety of our students, staff and families as we return to learn.

The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I confidently anticipate that by the end of next week I can communicate with clarity our plan to move forward.”

Cedar Rapids

The Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) enrolled 16,852 students last fall, making it the second largest district in the state.

KCRG-TV reports that the district is considering pushing back the school start date to August 31. The board is set to discuss the change on August 10.

CRCSD is offering different schooling options for elementary, middle and high school students.

Elementary students are able to learn in-person or through a short-term virtual school option. The short-term option is only available for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Middle and high school students have those options as well as a permanent virtual school option through the Cedar Rapids Virtual Academy. The deadline for parents to choose was Wednesday, August 5.

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