Calendar, Student Learning & Staff Professional Learning

  1. When will we find out about the start of school? (7/23/2020)

  • The start date is still August 24. A decision might happen in the next couple of weeks and hopefully by August 3 if the start date would need to be adjusted. Conditions could necessitate modification of that decision as late as August 23.

  1. When will we find out what type of school will be held to start the school year (on-site, continuous or hybrid)? (7/23/2020)

  • Senate File 2310, passed and signed into law on June 29, states that a district's Return To Learn plan must provide for in-person learning. The Governor recently announced that at least 50% of instruction must be in-person learning. So as of today, we are planning to have some level of in-person learning. What percentage of students and for how much instruction each week is yet to be finalized. A district cannot choose to go with Continuous Learning (online) without approval from the Iowa Department of Health and Iowa Department of Education. Guidance on what this application or waiver would require is not yet available.

  1. Can I sign up for Continuous Learning (online) even if the district decides to have On-site Learning? (7/23/2020)

  • Yes, a parent can choose to have their student(s) do Continuous Learning to start the school year. The student would have to commit to at least nine (9) weeks (first quarter) of Continuous Learning before changing to On-site Learning. Call your student’s building principal for more information.


  1. What will professional development look like? (7/23/2020)

  • There is a recognized need for professional learning, especially as we experience changes in the delivery of instruction. It is anticipated that professional learning will be similar to previous years. This would include three full-days of professional learning throughout the calendar year and weekly data team meetings during Wednesday early outs. The delivery of professional learning may change based upon the ability to meet face-to-face or virtually.

  1. Will teachers be allowed to work in their classroom during Continuous Learning? (7/23/2020)

  • Yes. The determination of whether staff can work from home or work at the school building will be made at the time the closure is announced and what type of closure order is issued.


  1. How do we find out who the families are that do not have Internet access? (7/23/2020)

  • We have surveyed families and have names of those that indicated they do not have Internet access. We have a list of families that we regularly send paper copies of notices, etc. because they don't have Internet and/or email. We have the free and reduced qualifiers. We have a list of students suggested by staff.


  1. The district has 300 hot spots to provide Internet access to students, how do families receive this? (7/23/2020)

  • Yet to be determined.


  1. If we move to exclusively remote learning at some point this school year due to COVID numbers, will teachers be able to instruct remotely as well, so they can attend to their own children's education? If not allowed to teach from home, can teacher's children be on site, rather than taking a leave of absence creating an even greater shortage of teachers? (7/23/2020)

  • Maybe. This decision is situational depending on the type of closure and length. It is likely in 100% continuous learning (all online), teachers will be required to be present at their school building. We have confirmed that daycare is readily available in MC at the current time and depending on all the different circumstances, having daycare in a school building has been discussed.


  1. Will teachers be expected to record themselves live for those choosing an online format, or will some teachers be chosen to instruct exclusively online for the semester/year? If we were expected to record our lessons, how can we do so without breaking confidentiality laws for children while still meeting the needs of the children onsite? (7/23/2020)

  • No. There are many different ways to instruct for online learning.


  1. Will the district remove the built in snow days from the calendar and look at shortening spring break in order to give teachers/children a later start date in order to give more time for the district to plan after Governor Reynolds additional guidance comes out early August? This would hopefully still allow us to meet the required 1080 hours of instructional time with students. (7/23/2020)

  • The current calendar has five more days than the minimum 1,080 hours required, but they are not specified as a specific day on the current calendar. The Governor's latest proclamation allows for online learning in the case of inclement weather so we will require Continuous Learning take place for that situation then no make-up days will be needed.


  1. What are employees doing who are not teachers if we have continuous learning? (7/23/2020)

  • Paraeducators will be a part of the Continuous Learning process and will provide support to students.


  1. Will the school day be shortened to allow time for me to thoroughly clean all spaces in my room? (7/23/2020)

  • At this time no. However, alternative schedules have been discussed and are a consideration for a variety of circumstances which include more time to clean.


  1. At what point would school shut down and go to Continuous Learning? (7/23/2020)

  • There is no specific guidance on this decision and will be determined by the circumstances. It may come from the Governor or it may be a local decision based on local conditions.


  1. As a teacher, how do I effectively teach both on site students and online students at the same time? (7/23/2020)

  • We are exploring a variety of flexible staffing models to meet the instructional needs of students who are in the school building and those that might require a continuous learning experience.


  1. Can a student who is in Continuous Learning come to school and participate in sports? (8/19/2020)

  • Yes - for high school sports, No - for middle school sports. Middle school sports are different because the hybrid schedule is different than the high schools and the fall sports competitions have been canceled with intramural play taking place instead. (Also see question 19 in "Other" FAQ category.)


  1. Can a student who is in Continuous Learning come to school and participate in a class? (7/28/2020)

  • Yes and No. Yes, for classes with an extracurricular component such as band, choir and orchestra. No, to other classes, for now.


  1. I have children in multiple buildings, for the hybrid model, how do I arrange all children to attend school on the same days? (8/3/2020)

  • Yes, you can arrange all your students to attend the same days by contacting each building's principal to arrange.


  1. For parents that choose continuous learning, will laptops be provided for each child? (8/3/2020)

  • Yes, the appropriate device for the grade level of you child will be provided.


  1. Will there be to-go meal service available for students who choose continuous learning or for student who are not in school because of hybrid option where some students are not in school? (8/3/2020)

  • Yes, there will be meals for students doing continuous learning and students who are not physically at school in the hybrid schedule. Visit the district website at masoncityschools.org and access the article on the home page Meal Distribution Plan for the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year in the Hybrid Learning Model.


  1. My child will be attending preschool. Can I choose continuous learning for my preschool child? (8/3/2020)

  • No. Preschool is voluntary therefore there is no voluntary continuous learning. However, if the entire school district moves to continuous learning then preschool would be continuous for that same period of time.


  1. Can I start my child in onsite (in-person) school and switch to continuous (online) learning? (8/3/2020)

  • Yes, You would have to keep your child in continuous learning for at least the remainder of the quarter before doing in-person again.


  1. How often will the school district reevaluate the need to increase the opportunity for full time in person learning? Is it a weekly thing or monthly re-evaluation? (8/3/2020)

  • Reevaluating the school will be done daily based on the community transmission rate, student absenteeism. Our goal is to communicate at least one week ahead of planned changes in the school schedule, but some changes will be the day before or even the night before due to illness rates.


  1. Will there be orientation of new 7th graders at John Adams Middle School prior to starting on August 24? (8/5/2020)

  • Please call the John Adams Middle School office for an update on orientation for 7th graders and new students to the building.


24. How often will the Return To Learn Plan be addressed throughout the school year? (8/5/2020)

  • Some parts of the Return To Learn Plan are addressed daily, others weekly and some every nine weeks. We hope to update parents every couple of weeks as to upcoming changes in the plan as the health conditions of our country improve and we return to more on-site learning over time. There are situations that will need immediate attention such as an overnight breakout of the virus (as reported to the school) which may result in a classroom or building being closed immediately for a period of time.


25. With the online learning can the students go on at any time during the day or is there certain times they have to be online? (8/5/2020)

  • For the most part yes, but, there may be times when a teacher arranges for a virtual classroom to be held at a specific time. Check with your child's teacher for a specific schedule.


26. The Governor of Iowa has state that in-person learning needs to be at least 50%. How does MCCSD's hybrid plan of 2 days on site and 2 days online meet this 50% rule? (8/5/2020)

  • If there are 4 days of instruction in a week and 2 of the days are in-person/onsite then this meets the 50% expectation - as long as the 2 days of instructional hours will meet 50% of the 1,080 hours of instruction required for the school year. It is not 50% of a 5-day week - it is 50% of the instructional hours in a week needed to get to at least 1,080 hours for the year. MCCSD's hybrid schedules meet this requirement.

27. If my child starts the school year in the hybrid learning model, can I choose continuous learning at some point? (8/5/2020)

  • Yes, a parent may move their child to Continuous (online) Learning once the school year starts but once the change is made student would need to remain in the Continuous Learning program for at least the remainder of the 9-week grading period.


Personal Health Questions (student and staff)

  1. Will face coverings be required for students? (updated 7/31/2020)

  • MCCSD staff, students and visitors will be required to wear face coverings.


  1. Will face coverings be required for staff? (updated 7/31/2020)

  • MCCSD staff, students and visitors will be required to wear face coverings.


  1. If we wear face coverings how can we enforce it? (7/23/2020)

  • Yet to be determined.


  1. Will face coverings be provided to all staff and students? (7/23/2020)

  • Yet to be determined.


  1. Will face shields be provided to staff? (7/23/2020)

  • Yes. If staff want a shield, it will be provided.


  1. What happens if a student tests positive? (7/23/2020)

  • Public Health will be determining what steps exposed classmates and or staff must take if someone in a building or classroom tests positive.


  1. Will temperatures of staff and students be checked at school? (7/23/2020)

  • No, not directly as staff and students arrive for school. Staff are asked to self-screen before leaving for school and parents are asked to screen their children before sending to school or getting on the bus. In the case of a staff member or student not feeling well after coming to school, the building’s nurse will screen for symptoms and take appropriate steps.


  1. If a staff or a student tests positive, what happens and what closures might happen because of it? (7/23/2020)

  • Under federal privacy laws, the district is not automatically made aware of positive tests for a student or staff member. Public Health will have to be involved in what happens with a positive test of a student or staff member. We are awaiting further guidance from CGPH on when or how a closure may happen because of a student(s) and or staff testing positive.


  1. I work in the office, how will those areas be cleaned and what precautions will be taken to ensure my safety? (7/23/2020)

  • Safety screens are being installed in each office. Cleaning supplies will be provided for self-cleaning. Social distancing, wearing a face covering and frequent, proper hand hygiene are the best defenses against spreading or getting the virus.


  1. What happens if a student tests positive and has been at school? Will the whole classroom have been tested or quarantined? (7/23/2020)

  • The district will work closely with Public Health on what steps need to be taken concerning testing and quarantining.


  1. How will the school implement the guidelines created by the CDC? (7/23/2020)

  • The district does not work directly with the CDC but collaborates with our local Public Health department to implement CDC guidelines in ways that best meet the context and circumstances of our community and school district.


  1. Can I require face coverings in my classroom as a personal classroom rule? (7/23/2020)

  • No. A teacher’s classroom rules have to fall within the district’s rules and can not be more strict than the district’s.


  1. Will we have easy access to testing and contact tracing? (7/23/2020)

  • That is an issue and procedure for Public Health. Under HIPAA, the district is not specifically made aware of who tests positive and what follow up is being done when someone tests positive.


  1. Who pays for the testing? (7/23/2020)

  • As far as we know, there is no mandate to get tested if someone feels ill. It is up to the individual and their health care provided to arrange the test and pay for it.


  1. My question is during registration and the amount of people that come through our office for registration, what protections will be put into place to insure our safety? (7/23/2020)

  • The district strongly encourages the online registration option. For those that need to register in person, appointments must be made and will be managed by each building. Shields will be placed at office counters and social distancing will need to be maintained.


  1. Are we going to limit the amount of visitors in the office? (7/23/2020)

  • Yes, the basic practice for all buildings this year is no drop-in visitors and no non-essential visitors will be permitted. Visitors will need an appointment.


  1. Does a student have to quarantine if they leave the state and go to another red zone state for the weekend? (8/3/2020)

  • This would be a question for Public Health. The school does not monitor student travel.


  1. Staff member: If I have had a COVID-19 test and I am waiting for the results, should I come to work? (8/3/2020)

  • No. Please wait for the results before making the decision to return to work.


  1. Parent: If my child(ren) has had a COVID-19 test and I am waiting for the results, should I send them to school? (8/3/2020)

  • No. Please wait for the results before sending your student(s) to school.


  1. Can a student or staff member wear a face shield instead of a mask? (8/4/2020)

  • Yes. The district's stance is that staff, students and visitors need to wear a "face covering." Face coverings include a face mask, face shield and neck gaiter.

  1. My student has asthma, can they get an exception from wearing a mask all day? (8/5/2020)

  • Yes, students with health conditions can get an exception to wearing a mask all day. Talk with your child's teacher or the school's nurse or principal.



Special Education, Social-Emotional & Behavior Questions

  1. Will students all need to be assigned their own sensory items? (7/23/2020)

  • Yes and No. Depending on the equipment being used. Many items can be cleaned in between uses and other items will need to be kept specifically for individual use. The IEP will dictate which items the students need to use.


  1. How will paras work with behavioral kids if distancing is required at all times? (7/23/2020)

  • On an individual basis. IEP teams will meet to determine what services will look like and how they will be safely delivered. Staff will be provided the appropriate PPE to perform their roles safely.


  1. Are the same paras going to work with multiple students every day or will they be assigned certain kids? (7/23/2020)

  • Same as previous years. Paras will be assigned to meet student needs. Paras should not be assigned to students but rather should be assigned to classrooms where there is a need.


  1. What happens when a student is in crisis? How do we keep people six feet apart? (7/23/2020)

  • The goal will be to keep everyone six feet away from each other and not be in closer proximity for longer than 15 minutes. Each case will focus on safety first and team meetings will be scheduled to discuss alternate plans if necessary.


  1. Will we have extra support staff/counselors available to help students/teachers who are having high anxiety about this pandemic? (7/23/2020)

  • The district will continue to monitor the social and emotional needs of students. Staff may be reassigned to assist students. Staff have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is well-equipped to assist individuals in working through anxiety resulting from the pandemic.


  1. With the climate of behaviors in our building last year, what is the plan for added stress to teachers and students? (7/23/2020)

  • Please talk to your building principal about the specific dynamics of a building and stress to teachers and students.


  1. How are we addressing the racial climate in tandem with COVID-19? (7/23/2020)

  • We would need to know more specifically how the racial climate is impacted by COVID-19 in a specific building. Please contact your building principal for a specific answer.


  1. How will IEPs and 504s be met - virtually or in person? (7/23/2020)

  • IEP teams and 504 teams will meet and create a fluid plan for individual students for On-site, Hybrid and Continuous Learning services. Each of these will be clearly documented.


  1. Will we have extra staff in our buildings for social-emotional support? (7/23/2020)

  • The district will continue to monitor the social and emotional needs of students and staff. Staff may be reassigned to assist students. Staff have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is well-equipped to assist individuals in working through anxiety resulting from the pandemic.


  1. Will there be different schedules for children with IEPs or children that have special needs that require more hands on learning? (8/4/2020)

  • Yes, Children on IEPs may attend more than 2 days per week in the hybrid model. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.


Cleaning, Distancing & Other Mitigation Questions

  1. Will we have enough space to appropriately space students out? (7/23/2020)

  • Yes there is enough space to appropriately distance students but it means limiting the number of students for a specific space. What that specific number is depends on the size of the room or space and the grade level of students. A good rule of thumb is roughly 36 square feet (6x6) per student.


  1. Will there be enough cleaning supplies? (7/23/2020)

  • At this time, the district has enough cleaning supplies for each classroom and building.


  1. Who is responsible for the purchase of Lysol wipes and other cleaning supplies? (7/23/2020)

  • Facilities, Maintenance and Custodian staff. FYI - Lysol is a brand name. See #5 for approved active ingredients which come in many brand products.


  1. How will spacing be kept in classrooms, gyms, and during arrival and dismissal? (7/23/2020)

  • If the number of students attending school at one time is limited the spacing will be based on the current guidance of approximately 6x6 foot distance between desks, in lines, and other areas of congregating. Keeping a proper distance between students and staff may include signage, tape, barriers, etc. and is somewhat dependent on the age and grade level of the students. Talk to your building principal for the specific plan.


  1. Will hand sanitizer be available to staff? (7/23/2020)

  • Hand sanitizer and clearing supplies will be provided by the district. There are three types of sanitizers that meet the FDA’s regulations for killing the virus: Benzalkonium chloride (BSK), Ethyl alcohol or ethanol (60 to 95%) and Isopropyl alcohol (70 to 91.3%). All are currently in use in district buildings.


  1. How will the school safely social distance? (7/23/2020)

  • Social distancing is done in a variety of ways. In a classroom, desks and furniture may be eliminated to spread out appropriately. In building offices, hallways and common areas, tape may be used to indicate where to wait, stand, etc. There is also a personal responsibility aspect to socially distancing properly.


  1. Will there be extra help/staff in buildings for cleaning support? (7/23/2020)

  • Most district staff will have a role in cleaning and sanitizing classrooms and work areas. The need for additional personnel to clean will be monitored after the start of school. The plan is to reassign staff as necessary to assist with cleaning followed by the use of substitutes. That plan is, however, subject to change depending on circumstances in each building, within the district, and the community as a whole.


  1. Will staff be social distancing in meetings? (7/23/2020)

  • Staff should take all necessary precautions during meetings to prevent exposure to COVID-19, including social distancing, wearing of face coverings and proper hand hygiene. This may mean meeting in a larger space to accommodate distancing or dividing staff into smaller groups for meetings and or having virtual meetings.


  1. Will teachers be trained on the new cleaning protocols? (7/23/2020)

  • Yes, all staff will be trained on new and additional cleaning procedures. It will take all staff (and perhaps appropriately aged students) to help clean and sanitize at certain times and in certain situations.


  1. How will we keep distance in the hallways? (7/23/2020)

  • It depends on the age of the students in the building. In some cases there may only be directions on how to move through the hallways and in other buildings there may be tape on the floor, barriers, one-way traffic, etc. Other options include staggering passing times, restroom breaks, and lunches.


  1. How does the HVAC system work? (7/23/2020)

  • All the district buildings’ HVAC systems are engineered and designed according to ASHRAE Series 60 Rules. Each room has a heat pump (usually located in the ceiling but not always). The heat pump circulates the room's air and heats or cools the air according to the thermostat setting. An air handler removes about 15% of the room's air and replaces it with fresh, outside air which enters the heat pump. In other words, 15% of a room’s air is replaced every hour with fresh, outside air. This is the ASHRAE standard. Each heat pump has a filter that filters the outside air as it enters the heat pump. These are MERV 10 rated filters. The filters are replaced 3 or 4 times a year.


  1. How do I improve the ventilation of my room since the windows in my room do not open? (7/23/2020)

  • Opening windows is not going to significantly improve the ventilation of a room and would likely do more harm to the air quality of the room. See answer to #11. Opening a window will not guarantee air flow for the entire room or improve the 15% turn over rate/hour of the mechanical system. The balance between heating/cooling and ventilation is controlled by the heat pump and opening the window will throw the balance off. Each heat pump is mechanically controlled and computer monitored. If you have a concern with your room's air quality, check with your janitor and they can check the computer system to see if it is operating properly.


  1. How will we handle bathrooms? (7/23/2020)

  • We are asking people to properly distance themselves when using a bathroom. In some cases urinals may be covered up.


  1. How will we handle drinking fountains? (7/23/2020)

  • Classroom and hallway drinking fountains will be modified. The bottle filler portions of drinking fountains will remain usable but the bubbler method will be disabled.


  1. How will we handle the cafeteria? (7/23/2020)

  • Talk to your building principal about the plan.


  1. How will we handle physical education? (7/23/2020)

  • Talk to your building principals about the plan.


  1. If cleaning is required between classes who will be performing that? (7/23/2020)

  • It depends on what specific area and what building. In some cases staff and students will be asked to provide additional clearing between classes as well as custodians. Your specific building’s plan will be shared before school starts.


  1. Will we have procedures and protocols if students are not following social distancing guidelines? (7/23/2020)

  • Please check with your building principal.


  1. Are hand dryers save to use? I've heard they spread the virus around in the air. (7/28/2020)

  • Yes, the CDC Hand Washing Page includes both air drying and using a clean towel as appropriate ways to dry your hands.


  1. Will students be responsible for cleaning as well as teachers and custodial staff? Do students have to clean the toilets before and after use? (8/3/2020)

  • Depending on the age of the student and logistics of the classroom, students may be asked to help clean their desktop, etc. Students will absolutely not be cleaning toilets.

Employee Benefits & Leave Questions

  1. What happens if I (staff member) test positive? Do I have to use my own sick days? (7/23/2020)

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides employees up to two-week’s emergency paid leave if they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Use of this leave must be requested by the employee. While using this leave, no deduction will be made from the employee’s paid leave balances. If an employee exhausts the two weeks of emergency paid leave under the FFCRA, then the employee’s accrued sick leave will apply first followed by personal days if all sick leave is exhausted. For more information, see the COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Supplemental Policy Provisions.


  1. If I am sick with the virus for a great deal of time or another member in my family - What happens to my job? (7/23/2020)

  • If you are sick, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides employees up to two-week’s emergency paid leave if they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Use of this leave must be requested by the employee. While using this leave, no deduction will be made from the employee’s paid leave balances. If an employee exhausts the two weeks of emergency paid leave under the FFCRA, then the employee’s accrued sick leave will apply first followed by personal days if all sick leave is exhausted. For more information, see the COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Supplemental Policy Provisions. Eligible employees will also be covered by the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as long they provide documentation from a health care provider that they are to self-quarantine. You may also qualify for emergency paid leave and leave under the FMLA if a member of your family is sick.


  1. What will happen if we have to quarantine as a teacher? Are you supposed to use our own sick days? (7/23/2020)

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides employees up to two-week’s emergency paid leave if they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Use of this leave must be requested by the employee. While using this leave, no deduction will be made from the employee’s paid leave balances. If an employee exhausts the two weeks of emergency paid leave under the FFCRA, then the employee’s accrued sick leave will apply first followed by personal days if all sick leave is exhausted. For more information, see the COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Supplemental Policy Provisions.


  1. How will we manage if several teachers are all out for say 14 days at the same time? (7/23/2020)

  • This scenario will be decided at the building level and on a case-by-case basis. Subs may be found, staff may be able to cover for one another if we are in a hybrid situation, and the building may be shut down and students moved to continuous learning for the closure period.


  1. How will we handle sick leave if I or a family member is sick for weeks? (7/23/2020)

  • If you are sick, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides employees up to two-week’s emergency paid leave if they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Use of this leave must be requested by the employee. While using this leave, no deduction will be made from the employee’s paid leave balances. If an employee exhausts the two weeks of emergency paid leave under the FFCRA, then the employee’s accrued sick leave will apply first followed by personal days if all sick leave is exhausted. For more information, see the COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Supplemental Policy Provisions. Eligible employees will also be covered by the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as long they provide documentation from a health care provider that they are to self-quarantine. You may also qualify for emergency paid leave and leave under the FMLA if a member of your family is sick.


  1. Why does the district need to approve my personal travel? (7/23/2020)

  • The district is not limiting, approving, or denying personal travel. The district does want you to be aware that depending on when you travel and if you are exposed to COVID-19, your self-isolation period could overlap with when you are expected to return to work. Risks of being exposed to COVID-19 vary depending on how you’re getting there, where you’re going, and your lodging arrangements.


7. What are the expectations for teachers in quarantine (COVID-19 exposure and asymptomatic) to teach their students, both at school or online? If teaching online from home, is this a sick day? (9/2/2020)

      • Staff assigned to teach classes online may continue to do so without having to use emergency paid sick leave provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) or sick leave from their district account. Staff who are not critical personnel and are assigned to teach in-person, and cannot do so due to quarantine, are eligible to use emergency paid sick leave (see Questions 3 above). Teachers that participate in Wednesday, online professional development are not required to use emergency paid sick leave or sick leave from their district account. In summary, an employee does not use leave for any day worked.


8. What are the expectations for teachers who have to stay home because their child is ill? If they are using family sick days, are they expected to continue teaching students online? (9/2/2020)

  • An employee who needs to stay home with a child who has been directed to self-quarantine is eligible for emergency paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (see Question 5 above and the COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Supplemental Policy Provisions). An employee using leave is not required to teach students online. A teacher who chooses to continue teaching students online is working and does not have to take emergency paid sick leave or use family illness days.

Other Questions

  1. Are parents being held accountable for students' health? (7/23/2020)

  • The district is asking parents to screen their children each day for symptoms and illness before sending on the bus or dropping off at school. When a child becomes ill at school, the student will be isolated and a parent contacted for immediate pick up. But, in the end the district has little leverage to hold parents accountable for students’ health.


  1. What will happen with the substitute situation? (7/23/2020)

  • Human Resources is surveying substitute teachers and paraprofessionals to determine whether they intend to return for this coming school year. The survey also asks them to indicate their primary concerns about substituting. The rules have been loosened up for who can substitute and in a hybrid model there will be additional staff to substitute.


  1. What number of substitute teachers have given a definitive "Yes" to being willing to teach in a classroom with a confirmed COVID case? When there is a substitute shortage as there has been for the last several years in Mason City, who will cover my class in the event a substitute cannot be found? There have been times teachers in the past have been asked to take on additional students for the day due to not being able to secure a substitute. (7/23/2020)

  • We have been in contact with our current substitute pool. Most have indicated they will sub this school year, but not all. There has been a loosening of the sub requirements this year so we anticipate this will help. If we are in a hybrid model (not all students attending at the same time) then there will be teachers available to cover for an absent teacher.


  1. What incentives or protections are there for substitutes, or other plans for teachers who are gone all the time? (7/23/2020)

  • No additional financial incentives have been proposed for substitutes. This may be reconsidered if the district determines there is a shortage.


  1. What if large numbers of teachers are gone and there are no substitutes available? (7/23/2020)

  • The response to a situation like this is dependent on the circumstances. In a continuous learning (online) environment or hybrid environment, we may be able to reallocate teaching staff to meet student needs instead of utilizing substitutes.


  1. How will the district keep me safe from my colleagues who have been to bars, restaurants, traveling, etc.? (7/23/2020)

  • The district has no desire to restrict what employees do outside of work. Further, tracking employee patronage of local eating and drinking establishments is impractical. Out of respect for others' health, all employees are expected to practice personal accountability and responsibility by following social distancing and face coverings use guidelines established by public health officials when working in district buildings.


  1. When going on home visits for preschool requirements - what new safety protocols will be in place? (7/23/2020)

  • Preschool teachers and paras will not be going to the homes of our children. Dependent upon the circumstances, these meetings with families will be completed by appointment in the school building or virtually.


  1. Can I get classroom amplification because I will be teaching in a face covering? (7/23/2020)

  • Talk with your building principal about this request.


  1. What kind of research is the district using to make their decisions? (7/23/2020)

  • Our guidance on education and health decisions has come from the Governor's Office, The Iowa Department of Education, The Iowa Department of Public Health, & Cerro Gordo Public Health.


  1. What kind of research has been done on schools that have successfully reopened? (7/23/2020)

  • None specifically. We really don't have much latitude to do our own thing at this time. We rely on guidance from the agencies listed in the previous question.


  1. Will I be provided extra money to ensure non-sharing or use of supplies? (7/23/2020)

  • No. All cleaning supplies and non-shared supplies will be provided by the building.


  1. Will I get help if I want to host an outdoor classroom? (7/23/2020)

  • Talk with your building’s principal.


  1. Who will keep track of the students/staff days needed to stay out of school/when they can return? (7/23/2020)

  • Each building's office as usual. We are looking for guidance from CGPH on this issue because we currently are not made aware of who has tested positive or who is just out sick.


  1. Do we have a team dedicated to COVID and who are they? (7/23/2020)

  • The administrators and supervisors have been divided up into teams for our COVID response and RTL planning. In addition staff members, community agencies and community members are part of some teams.


  1. Will the district pay for Internet access at my house so I can work from home if school is closed down? (7/23/2020)

  • No. Home Internet access for staff is a personal decision. You may be required to work from school in the event of a closure or your building may likely be open for you to work from the school in case of a closure.


  1. Will the staff dress code and expectations for staff dress change because of the coronavirus? (7/28/2020)

  • The district acknowledges the need for more flexibility in staff attire to create safer environments when with students. Please talk to your building principal about a specific exception needed from the current dress code.


  1. Is there a separate school supply list for students doing online learning? (8/3/2020)

  • No, the list is the same.


  1. How will parents be able to provide educational support necessary for students when working full time and kids in daycare? (8/5/2020)

  • The district is working with daycare providers to support student learning while at daycare. If your daycare provider is not aware of the district's support, please have them contact the district office.


  1. What is the status of Middle School sports? (8/19/2020)

  • Competitive games and events for middle school fall sports have been canceled. This includes cross country, football and volleyball. Each of these sports will practice and have intramural competition. Students will practice only on the days they attend school. You have to attend school in the hybrid model in order to participate in the practices and intramurals.


  1. Will buses run as normal and will kids be required to wear a mask on the bus? (8/7/2020)

  • Buses will run their normal routes and times each day. Students will be required to wear a face covering (mask, shield or gaiter) on the bus.