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Davenport School Board discusses Return to Learn Plan

Davenport’s School Board addressed the Return to Learn plan during their meeting Monday evening.
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 11:06 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Davenport’s School Board addressed the Return to Learn plan during their meeting Monday evening.

Dr. Kobylski said they have a protocol if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

“The health department does notify us of that positive test or we could reach out to them with a specific name if we do hear from a family or a staff member,” he said.

Kobylski also said the health department will conduct contact tracing and connect with every individual that was within 6 feet of that student for 15 minutes.

“If we have one student who tests positive and someone will..it’s going to happen..I’ll just tell you that right now, we’re not gonna close a whole school down because one person tested positive. We’re not gonna shut an entire classroom down if one person tests positive. They have to fit that 6 feet for 15 minutes rule,” he said.

“I have to make it very clear to the community that we have HIPAA and FERPA requirements that we’re not allowed to offer any health information to interested parents in the class. [We] can’t provide any information whether that be a staff member or a student. All of that communication comes from the health department,” he said.

He also said he prefers the remote learning model.

“I do believe the 50/50 model will keep our community safe. I would still prefer to go full online knowing that we haven’t flattened the curve yet but for us to go fully online on August 24th would require a waiver from the governor,” he said.

Out of all the school board members, Kent Paustian was the only dissenter of the online-only model as well as the waiver request.

“I absolutely do not favor 100% online learning and I don’t feel that the superintendent should apply for a waiver,” he said, “I’m in favor of 100% all students in class...the 50% online learning, I guess you would call it compromise..it’s probably the lesser of two evils,” he said.

Paustian suggested everyone on the board should take a stance for which return to learn program they favored. The rest of the board did not support a traditional in-person learning model at this time.

In response to the discussion, board member Linda Hayes said “I would love, in an ideal situation to see all the students in the classroom everyday, but we’re not in ideal times,” she said, “If we lose one child due to COVID that’s one too many”. Hayes said she can live with the hybrid model and she’s okay with the only-only learning model if they get the waiver, but said full in-person learning isn’t good for students, staff, and parents. “We’re just not in the position right now where that is safe,” she said.

Dr. Allison Beck said she received response from the community both supporting and not supporting full time in-person learning. “I would love to have all of our children in school 100% of the time. That is the most equitable thing we could do. That is the most fair,” she said. “That is not the safe option right now and we know that the children that need the most services unfortunately also tend to be the children in families who are most at risk from complication from COVID-19″.

Daniel Gosa fully supported Kobylski’s decision to apply for the waiver.

Dr. Kobylski said just because they ask for the waiver doesn’t mean they have to take it and said the more options they have, the better. They’ll be monitoring the situation with help from the health department. He’s planning to send a letter to Governor Reynolds on Tuesday with data from the health department.

During the meeting, Paustian also said special education students need to be a priority. Updates on special education will be discussed on August 10th.

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