Each school district in Iowa is submitting a Return to Learn Plan to the state for how to safely return to school in the fall as COVID-19 continues to circulate, as well as contingency options. Washington School District’s Superintendent Willie Stone says Washington’s document is about 63 pages long and will continue to be edited and added to as the school year gets closer and more data on the situation is gathered.
Stone says Washington’s 1:1 program has helped in developing the plan, as every student from preschool to seniors in high school will have access to a device, “It dramatically helps it. And we’ve actually done some changes to it that will take place this year. I would love to go back to school full time and I think that’s where we’re heading, but if we’re unable to do that every student will have access to a computer or an iPad. And what we’ll have is pre-K through 1st grade will all have iPads, 2nd-8th grade will all have Chromebooks, and then 9-12 will have their MacBook Pros. Every student will have that now. The access is the thing we’re really working on, and the state is also working on that. I know they sent out a survey, or had us send out a survey earlier.” Each Washington School building is a hotspot for internet for students to use.
Stone adds that the district officials are continuing to work with public health officials to establish the safest learning environment for students and staff. The plan is for classes to start August 24, but the district is prepared for virtual learning if needed.
Stone encourages parents, students, and staff to respond to surveys that will be coming out soon so the district can better gauge people’s access to the internet and their comfort levels with the current situation. The information gathered will help the district tweak their Return to Learn Plan.