By Mike Jorgensen

Highland team works on school plans

Highland Highlights

Posted 5/28/20

The administrative meetings for the Highland Community School District have been interesting lately to say the least. The amount of information that the team is trying to cover is massive with little …

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By Mike Jorgensen

Highland team works on school plans

Highland Highlights

Posted

The administrative meetings for the Highland Community School District have been interesting lately to say the least. The amount of information that the team is trying to cover is massive with little or no frame of reference to draw upon.

What will the 2020-2021 school year look like? What rules may or may not be in place? How does the school district make plans to accommodate state health guidelines that might be put in place?

It is unknown as of this writing if school will be held in person or online at the start of the year.

The school districts in Iowa are working feverishly on devising plans with many options for the start of the year. Here are a list of some of the uncertainties:

Funding: Prior to shutting down the legislative session, a growth figure had been approved for the schools. Obviously with the lack of state revenues and sales due to the pandemic, when the legislature reconvenes in June, that could be revoked.

There is discussion that an across-the-board cut of state-funded programming will be implemented as well. Schools have already passed and approved budgets for next year that may need to be modified based on what the Legislature decides.

Social distancing: The assumption is that schools will begin again in person in the fall. However, there is a further assumption that social distancing guidelines may be in place. One of those guidelines is classrooms at 50%.

What does that mean? It would be nice if you had the money to double your teaching staff and have enough classrooms to cut class sizes in half. That is not feasible. So you either implement an every other day schedule for students or a morning and afternoon shift for students.

Activities: How do you practice social distancing in football, marching band, cross country, volleyball or vocal choirs? Do you allow fans in the stands? If yes, how do you enforce social distancing?

Vaccines: If and when a vaccine is developed, do you require all students to have it prior to being readmitted to the school? I read recently that as many as 30% of the population state they won’t take the vaccine even when it is offered.

I’m not sure I can relate as to the reason why, but does this become a part of the same requirements that schools enforce with other vaccinations?

These are only a few of the topics for discussion. So many questions with few definitive answers. School administrators are working hard on developing plans with several options depending upon what is decided on the state level.

Unprecedented for sure, but I can assure you that the Highland district administrative team is working hard on addressing these questions. 

There is no experience to draw upon from the past. There is so much uncertainty. The hope is that things will be normal while the reality is that there are probably going to be some changes.

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