Iowa City Community School District extends 100 percent online learning period

In a meeting on Tuesday, Interim Superintendent Matt Degner recommended classes continue virtually for two more weeks. The waiver to do so was granted on Monday.


Jeff Sigmund

Iowa City Community School District sign. As seen on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.

Natalie Dunlap, News Reporter

As the first two-week waiver to conduct classes virtually comes to an end, the Iowa City Community School District will launch into another 14-day period of online classes. 

The district initially received permission to conduct school online from the Iowa Department of Education on Nov. 10 and started the two-week period on Nov. 16. The district requested another waiver on Nov. 20, which was granted on Monday.

In the support document for the most recent request, Johnson County Public Health Community Health Division Manager Sam Jarvis cited an increase in the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate, cold weather driving people indoors, and fatigue among the public about social distancing.

In a school board meeting on Tuesday, Iowa City Community School District Interim Superintendent Matt Degner recommended classes remain online in the two weeks following Thanksgiving break. 

“There’s three weeks between Thanksgiving break and winter break,” Degner said. “And so we’ll have one week that’s unaccounted for there before break and so I anticipate as we get to the meeting on [Dec. 8] that we’ll need to have a conversation about what that week looks like. We’ll have a well informed conversation by that point about what’s happening at the state and local level after this time off from school here during Thanksgiving break, and continuing to see how the pandemic situation in the state and county lies at that time.” 

Shawn Eyestone, school board president, said he appreciated having students stay home after the holiday break.

“I know people are struggling with having their kids at home. I think that, with Thanksgiving being this week, and the incubation period that this virus gives us, I think having two weeks after the holiday ensures us being in a good place,” he said. “I know between now and then, the numbers will start to drop before they start to go back up again. But I’m afraid what would happen if we went immediately back, we would go back for another week or two and immediately have to shut down anyway. Maybe even less time than that.” 

Board member JP Claussen closed the section of the meeting pertaining the Return-to-Learn plan with a request to those watching the Zoom. 

“I’m just gonna make the comment to the public to please, please be safe and not gather over Thanksgiving,” he said.