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CCA and ICCSD return to virtual learning

Significant increase in COVID-19 cases leads to online school through Thanksgiving break

JOHNSON COUNTY– It’s back to online learning for Clear Creek Amana (CCA) and Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) students.
Students in the Clear Creek Amana Community School District returned to all-online learning after the district shifted back to virtual education on Sunday, Nov. 8.
Superintendent Tim Kuehl sent out an email to families stating the district had received guidance of a “significant increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19,” which has directly affected the transportation department. “As a result, we will be moving from our current in-person/virtual instruction model to virtual learning for all students for Monday (Nov. 9) and Tuesday (Nov. 10) with the intent to apply for the Department of Education two-week virtual learning waiver to be virtual through Tuesday, Nov. 24.”
CCA received the waiver from the Iowa Department of Education on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Wednesday, Nov. 25, is a no-school day with the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27, meaning students won’t return to the classroom until Monday, Nov. 30, barring any extensions of the waiver.
The district’s website posts year-to-date COVID numbers and as of Friday, Nov. 6 (the most recent stats posted), there have been 36 positive COVID cases among students and staff district wide and 426 total student/staff quarantines including 117 at the high school, 131 at the middle school and 68 at Tiffin Elementary.
North Bend Elementary (North Liberty) had 20 year-to-date, with 47 at Oak Hill Elementary (Tiffin), 16 at Clear Creek Elementary (Oxford) and 24 at Amana Elementary. The district’s administration building has had three as of Nov. 6.
The district noted “The state does not consider quarantined students absent and therefore we cannot count them in our absentee percentages as recorded.” The highest absentee percentage, as of Nov. 6 (and since the start of the 2020-2021 school year), was 2.3 percent.
The ICCSD also applied for a waiver to return to virtual learning on Saturday, Nov. 7, which was granted on Nov. 10 for the period from Wednesday, Nov. 11, to Wednesday, Nov. 25 (like CCA, it is also a no-school day for ICCSD).
During an emergency meeting of the ICCSD school board of directors, it was decided to begin the virtual learning on Monday, Nov. 16, in order to provide time for families to make any necessary adjustments. The ICCSD is also taking time off for the Thanksgiving holiday, and will return to in-person learning on Monday, Nov. 30, barring any waiver extension.
As of Friday, Nov. 13, 164 ICCSD students (75 confirmed positive cases and 89 presumed) and 40 staff (28 confirmed, 12 presumed) were COVID-19 positive for 1/10 percent of the student body, and 1.72 percent of the staff. A total of 522 students and 113 staff were quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure for 3.51 percent and 4.87 percent of the total students and staff, respectively. Since Aug. 15, 479 COVID cases (current and recovered confirmed positive and presumed positive cases) were recorded for the district’s students. Also, a total of 117 cases among staff had been reported.
For both districts, moving to virtual learning puts any and all extracurricular activities on hold unless they are able to meet online, which includes fine arts and athletics.
On Friday, Nov. 6, Gov. Kim Reynolds put out a video plea to Iowans to stop the spread of the virus, calling upon their personal responsibility.
“You can stop the spread of COVID-19,” Reynolds said, “It’s this simple: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, cover your cough, and of course stay home when you’re sick. And if you or someone you love is at a higher risk, take extra precautions like staying home as much as possible, especially when virus activity is high in your community.” Reynolds held press conferences on Nov. 10 and Nov. 12, and reported a 19 percent positivity rate, statewide.
According to the State of Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 14, Johnson County had a 14-day average of 17.3 percent while Iowa County was at 19.7 percent.