Return To Learn

Urbandale CSD Weekly Update: July 17, 2020

We invite you to read the Urbandale CSD Return To Learn weekly newsletter. The newsletter will be sent every Friday focusing on a handful of brief but informative topics related to our 2020-21 school year. Newsletters will be archived on the Return To Learn section of the district website. Please make note of the “translate newsletter” option which can be accessed by clicking on the "View it in your browser" link at the top of this page. Thank you for helping us create a safe, healthy, and welcoming learning environment!

2020-21 Instructional Models

Urbandale Community School District has a total of three instructional delivery models for the 2020-21 school year which include:

  1. On Site (in a school building 5 days/week)

  2. Hybrid (combination of in a school building for 2 days and remote online learning for 3 days)

  3. Required Continuous Learning (all remote online learning 5 days/week)

The reason for these three models is to ensure that we are supporting student learning in the safest way possible by being responsive to the status of public and district health related to COVID-19. While our hope is to start the school year with the in-person, On-Site instructional delivery model, we are partnering with the Iowa Department of Education and local public health officials to determine the safest instructional model to begin our year. We may need to transition between models throughout the school year as public and district health dictate.

For example, if we’re operating within the On-Site Model (in school) and students or staff test positive for COVID-19, or if there is substantial community transmission of COVID-19 within Polk County, we may need to transition to Required Continuous Learning (online). This would allow time for deep cleaning and disinfecting rooms/buildings while those impacted follow health guidelines provided by the Polk County Health Department. Therefore, the model we start the school year in may not be the model we’re likely to stay in throughout the year as we may need to transition to the model that provides the safest learning environment for students and staff. We will inform district families and staff of the instructional delivery model we will be using to start our school year by August 14.

Alternative Learning Options

We understand that some families may not be comfortable sending their children back to school for a variety of reasons which is why we’ve developed these alternative learning options for families who need or want their child(ren) to complete all learning off site (not in a school building). As we may be transitioning between models throughout the school year as public health dictates, if your preference is not to have your child in a school building at all this year, please review the following options.

1. Remote Classroom: Students will complete their daily coursework from home with online guidance and interaction with an Urbandale CSD teacher. Depending on the number of requests we receive for this model, classrooms may be multi-aged. You would need to commit to this approach for the entire first semester and could re-commit for the second semester if desired. Remote Classroom learning would begin on August 25th (following the traditional calendar).

2. Home Schooling: Students will complete their coursework from home. Parents are responsible for all aspects of selecting and designing instruction, lesson delivery, and assessment of progress. We request parents/guardians notify our district of their plan to homeschool by emailing Dr. Schlueter by August 10, 2020, if possible. In some cases, a Form A is required. More information, including a full handbook can be found on the Iowa Department of Education website.

Rolling Green Start of School Year

Based on our current interpretation of the new proclamation shared by Governor Reynolds during this morning’s press conference, we will be submitting a waiver request to provide Required Continuous Learning (all online) as planned for the start of our Rolling Green school year. As this is new guidance we received this morning, we are seeking clarification from the Iowa Department of Education regarding the waiver process and will share more with families and staff as soon as we receive confirmation.

Given that various public health metrics indicate that our community is experiencing substantial community spread of COVID-19, we are planning to follow the guidance and recommendations provided by the Polk County Health Department which is to begin our school year on July 23 in the Required Continuous Learning Instructional Model (online). Please know, we recognize the challenges online learning presents for our families and we are working through ideas to help reduce barriers. We are providing Chromebooks for all K-12 students and free Internet service for families who do not have Internet due to costs associated with the service. We will also be sharing recommendations for how to structure online learning at home for all age levels. Although this is the model we’re planning to start our Rolling Green school year in, we’re hopeful that we’ll be in a position soon to transition to having students and teachers back in the classroom together.

Mandatory Face Masks

As the primary method of transmission for COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets, cloth masks are vital components to mitigate the spread of the virus. All Urbandale CSD staff, K-12 students, vendors, visitors, and spectators are required to wear a face mask while in district buildings and when riding a school bus. Cloth face masks are recommended for preschool students, but not required. Masks must also be worn in outdoor settings where safe social distancing is not possible.

The following in-building exceptions apply:

  • Employees working alone in their offices or rooms

  • While participating in activities in which a face covering cannot be worn, or would prohibit respiratory function

  • Individuals with an approved accommodation that prevents the wearing of a face mask

Exceptions will be made for medical conditions or special circumstances. If your Rolling Green student has a medical condition or special circumstance, please complete this form by July 18. If your Urbandale CSD student (all students other than Rolling Green) has a medical condition or a special circumstance, please complete this form by August 10th.

Chromebook Distribution Agreement

We’ll be providing a Chromebook to all kindergarten through 12th grade students. In order to make that happen, please take a few minutes to read and discuss each item included within this Chromebook Distribution Agreement (note: English, Spanish, Bosnian, and Hakha Chin languages included below):

Please indicate your agreement with each item by checking the boxes for both parent(s)/guardian(s) and student. Checking each box will constitute an electronic signature which indicates your intention to comply with the terms outlined in the agreement. Complete one agreement for each student. For Rolling Green families, please have the agreement(s) completed by July 19, 2020. All families other than Rolling Green, please complete the agreement(s) at your earliest convenience.

Internet Service

We’re providing families Internet service who do not currently have Internet at home due to the cost of service being a barrier. Options for service are included in the survey. Please complete this survey (one survey per address) to indicate your need for obtaining Internet service at home. (Note: If you signed up for Internet access this past spring, you do not need to sign up again; your Internet service will continue through the 2020-21 school year.) Rolling Green families, if you are in need of Internet service, please complete the survey by July 19, 2020. All families other than Rolling Green, if you are in need of Internet service, please complete the survey at your earliest convenience.