Return to Learn — July 14, 2020

Steve Grond COVID-19

July 14, 2020

Greetings, Boyden-Hull Families!

It has been a strange journey these last four months, and I hope that this communication finds everyone safe and healthy. We are thankful for the survey responses you have provided about your experiences this spring. We valued the information as we worked on our Return to Learn plan. Right now, I want to share some information about the upcoming school year and our plans as they currently stand. 

Over the past several months, a leadership team consisting of teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators have been meeting to discuss and plan for different scenarios. In addition to this group, we consulted other individuals with areas of expertise, including the school nurse, community health partners, transportation heads, officials at the Iowa Department of Public Health, and administrators at other school districts.  

There are three delivery methods that we are preparing for possible use during the upcoming school year:   

  • Required Continuous Learning, Off-Site– students will not attend school and would learn at home either online or using other instructional materials. In this model, staff would provide instruction virtually and be prepared to provide support to students virtually.
  • Hybrid– some students would learn in school while others learn at home. If this model would need to be used, we will divide students into groups and create a schedule for when students would be in school. 
  • On-Site Learning Model– all students will be in school, and the district will have processes and procedures in place to mitigate the virus.

Right now, our plan is to begin classes on Tuesday, August 25, using the on-site learning model. We would conduct classes as close to normal as possible. We understand there may need to be alternative delivery methods for families with underlying medical conditions who would prefer not to have their child in school due to these concerns.

We continue to discuss several topics for on-site learning: 

  • Face Coverings – At this point, masks will be optional. As we gather more information, please note that this policy may change, but right now we will not require face coverings.
  • Bussing – For this summer’s baseball and softball seasons, the state’s guidance was to have passengers practice social distancing on buses. We anticipate that will be the guidance this fall as well. With limited buses and drivers, this potentially creates problems. While we are still working out the logistics, we do want to ask for your assistance with this. If you can transport your child to and from school, please let us know; this will help us plan.
  • Cleaning – We have spent considerable time working with our suppliers in gathering cleaning and disinfecting supplies. We will continue to fine-tune our procedures as we get closer to the start date, and we know we will be taking additional measures for disinfecting spaces.

As mentioned, we plan to begin with on-site learning starting on Tuesday, August 25. We will continue to work on these plans and update them as new information becomes available. We will post the plan we submitted to the state on the Boyden-Hull web site during the week of July 13, and a more detailed plan for families will be sent soon. 

If the past four months have taught us anything, it is that we need to be flexible as guidance continues to evolve. That is the same is true for these plans. It may be that we will need to transition to off-site learning or hybrid models with little notice, and our plans need to be able to accommodate those possibilities. 

We want students in school, and we want our communities to be healthy.  Right now, it’s challenging to strike the right balance, but we hope the plans we are working hard to develop allow us to provide the highest quality education in the safest environment possible. 

Yours in education,

Steve Grond