These are unique times presenting challenges including health, education, economics, and social order. There are more questions than answers for all of us. However, we will take on these challenges together and do our best to move forward together. This is an opportunity for all of us to practice the core of citizenship which is being responsible for our individual behavior and for the well being of our community, state, and nation.
This communication will provide our best information to date. Please understand this situation is very fluid and changes as information streams from federal and state sources and data regarding the virus become known. Our plan is to communicate at a minimum weekly to our Muskie Family.
FOOD THAT’S IN WHEN SCHOOL IS OUT
The Muscatine Community Schools are committed to providing food for those students in need. This communication will provide information regarding locations, times, and procedures for our meal sites: MEAL SITE INFORMATION and MENU.
IOWA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION GUIDANCE AND AT-HOME EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
The Iowa Department of Education has provided additional guidance to school districts. You can read that guidance HERE. In addition, a LINK to an article from the Omaha World-Herald has some parent information regarding how to keep children engaged within a schedule at home. The article also provides links to various on-line resources that may be accessed by parents to provide some educational experiences for their children.
The following are some points of information:
- There is an official calendar change for Monday, April 13, 2020. Originally, this day had been scheduled as a no school day for students and staff. If school is convened at the end of this initial closure, school will resume on Monday, April 13, 2020.
- If school is convened on April 13, teachers will make the adjustments needed in their classrooms to accommodate the loss of 15 days of instruction. The state has waived the minimum number of hours needed for school operation, so Muscatine Community School District’s students will not make up the 15 days missed. At this time, no one knows if schools will definitely open on April 13. It is important we do not get ahead of the information we currently are being given.
- The Iowa Department of Education has given local districts latitude in granting credits for courses and for graduation. Again, if school resumes on April 13th, it will be minor adjustments, if any. However, if the closure is extended, the district will develop a protocol to ensure students are not penalized by the closure. The district, as recommended by the Dept of Education, will use latitude to ensure seniors are able to graduate and be able to pursue post-secondary plans. The granting of credit for non-seniors, will also be handled in a way that will not impede educational progress.
- Questions regarding Prom and Commencement are important for our students and parents. At this time, there can not be any definitive answers. These decisions will be impacted by when schools are reopened and when the recommendations for large group gatherings are lifted.
At this time, the State of Iowa has suspended state testing. There will be additional information dependent upon when schools are reconvened by the Department of Education.
The Department of Education has reminded districts that on-line learning is an option only if districts can ensure all students have access, special education services can be provided, and it is a curriculum/program that has been approved by the Department of Education. The reality is almost all Iowa schools will not be able to meet those requirements. (Please see the linked news story above regarding home activities).
SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
Special Education services are dependent upon general education services being delivered. While schools are closed, special education services are also suspended.
During the closure period, all buildings are closed to the public. Access will be limited to essential school personnel.
This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.