FMCSD to require staff to wear masks around students

BY KATIE SCOVILLE
Pen City Current

FORT MADISON – As communities prepare to go back to school, schools are releasing Return to Learn Plans, explaining possible procedures for the upcoming school year. Fort Madison Community School District has just released their plan, comprising of a Face-to-Face learning model, a Hybrid Learning model, as well as 100% Online Required Learning.

Changes will be made based on guidance from the Iowa Public Health Department and the Lee County Health Department, among others. The number one priority of the district is to maintain the health and safety of students and staff.

Face-to-face learning is the hope for the upcoming school year, according to release today from FMSCD Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater.

According to the release, masks will be required for all teachers and staff working with students. Temperatures will not be taken daily, but parents are encouraged to keep a close eye on their children’s temperature and symptoms daily.

To help protect students, increased cleaning and sanitizing stations will be available. Masks and other personal protective equipment will be strongly encouraged, especially traveling from class to class. To reduce the flow of students to the nurse’s office, minor first aid procedures will be performed in class.

Small groups of students will be allowed to go to the bathroom during breaks instead of the entire class going all at once. Assemblies and Parent’s Night will be temporarily stopped. The school district hopes to reinstall them at a later date.

In the Hybrid Learning Model, students of all levels will be divided into A and B groups. Group A will learn at their respective school on Mondays and Tuesdays while group B continues online learning. Thursday and Friday, group B will attend school while group A learns online. Wednesday and weekends will be used for deep cleaning days. Every method to keep students and staff safe will be employed from the Face to Face Learning Method.

If conditions dictate full online learning, the district is ready and fully equipped to do so. The district has enough devices to allot to each student. If families are concerned about children with health issues, the option to learn online is available. Unlike last spring, these online classes will require attendance, assignments, as well as assessments.

The schools will be utilizing See Saw (for younger students) and Canvas (for older students) to teach online. If families don’t have Wi-Fi capabilities, hotspots will be allocated to them. There’s also a possibility for “Wi-Fi buses” in which families can access parked buses that produce connection. If print materials are needed, they can be delivered through the postal service or pick-up services located at each school building.

In a video statement included with the release, Slater said the district is ready to help create a safe and effective learning environment.

“We know that this has been a challenging time for our families and our community. We are here to do whatever we can to make sure our students have the best and safest learning experience.”

After reading through the plan, the school requests that parents complete the Parent Needs survey to gain feedback about the learning models and how they can help students. The survey can be found on the district’s website at www.fmcsd.org. or at the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeej-LEVObeE3F2Xljv56eCL7NwpkcdwwXkf9JLUu5-c4mKOg/viewform

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