Return to Learn
North Butler School Community,
The North Butler Board of Education and Administrative Team appreciate your patience as we work through this unprecedented and unpredictable time in education. With that said, I would like to present our board-approved tentative Return to Learn Plan for the coming school year. I say tentative as this is such an unknown and fluid situation that our guidance and local conditions may change at any time. The Return to Learn Plan provides a framework for three instructional formats: face-to-face, online, and a hybrid. North Butler Schools have created a plan for each of these models and may need to move between these three formats throughout the school year dependent on local conditions.
The Return to Learn Plan is the collective and collaborative effort of many stakeholders: staff, administrators, and school board with input from the community, local health officials, and the Iowa Department of Education. The plan includes the following components: leadership and infrastructure, health and safety, academic standards, social-emotional-behavioral health, equity, and data collection and monitoring. Our mission has remained intact throughout this time: to commit all district resources to provide students and staff with a high quality of education. Our delivery models are changing, but our focus on student achievement and well-being has not. The entire Return to Learn Plan can be viewed at this link.
Original Plan (approved by the Board on 6/30/20)
It was originally determined through this work to begin the school year in the hybrid model with students attending two days per week and online on the other week days.
In this format, hours from all days of the week were being counted as instructional hours to meet the 1,080 hour requirement. This equates to 40% instructional time per week.
Amendment (approved by the Board on 7/21/20)
Then, as we all know the guidance changed for us last week requiring a new recommendation to the board. Senate File 2310 issued by Governor Reynolds recently requires a minimum of 50% face-to-face attendance per week. Therefore, the recommendation was made to revise the North Butler calendar to fulfill these requirements. This recommendation was made in collaboration with the Butler County Health Department and in line with current CDC recommendations.
In this format, only hours from Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are being counted as instructional hours to meet the 1,080 hour requirement. Professional development days will be moved or utilized on Wednesday. This equates to 50% instructional time per week, best meets current health and safety guidelines, and provides the necessary time for teachers to create and monitor required online courses:
CDC current recommendation SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth or eyes, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices that include social distancing is an important way to prevent the virus’s spread. Reducing the number of students in the building each day allows for greater social distancing.
Teachers will be required by the Iowa Department of Education to provide online instruction full-time for students with chronic health conditions. Districts are also allowed to let parents opt for online instruction during the pandemic. This online instruction will be provided via Canvas for grades 5-12 and Seesaw for the lower grades. Additional time is needed for teachers to provide this online instruction, and Wednesdays will be utilized for this.
The board approved this recommendation last night to begin the year in the hybrid model based on all of the above considerations and more. This new plan will come with some calendar changes. Wednesdays will now be non-instructional days, and there will be no face-to-face or online learning taking place on Wednesdays. The revised calendar will be shared soon. Despite these changes, it is important to note that the revised hybrid plan for North Butler Schools will provide for 1,080 instructional hours with 50% of those hours as face-to-face instruction.
In addition, North Butler School Board approved the recommendation to strongly recommend, but not require, face coverings when social distancing is not possible. This recommendation is in line with current guidance from the Iowa Department of Education. The following was stated in the FAQ released on 6/30/20: While cloth face coverings can reduce the spread of COVID-19 when worn properly and when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health, does not recommend that districts and nonpublic schools require face coverings for all students and staff because of the considerable health and safety, legal and training implications for such a policy (see link). Some individuals might not be able to use cloth face coverings due to a health or safety concern including but not limited to age, developmental disability, underlying condition, or mental health concern. Numerous considerations need to be examined at the local level based on individual staff and student needs.
The following recommendations were also approved:
Allow parents to select online instruction vs. face-to-face for JH/HS by quarter and elementary by trimester.
Waive online payment fees (not registration fees) for 2020-2021 for reduced contact with office staff.
Decisions regarding fall sports and camps will be tabled until further guidance from IHSAA is provided. The outdoor speed and agilities will open beginning July 24th. Open gym will remain closed at this time.
The staff and administration of North Butler Schools look forward to welcoming students back full time to the classrooms when it can be done following current health and safety recommendations. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Further guidance on how all of this will look, and safety measures that will be in place will be released in the near future.
North Butler Superintendent