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Webster City schools seek waiver for remote learning

District officials cited increasing COVID-19 cases and 28.1 percent positivity rate

WEBSTER CITY — Webster City Community Schools is seeking a waiver from the Iowa Department of Education to temporarily move to remote learning. Officials cited the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the area and the increasing numbers of staff and students in quarantine as the reason for requesting the waiver.

If approved, all students will begin learning remotely on Nov. 30. This model will remain in effect until at least Dec. 11, according to Superintendent Mandy Ross. All remote learning will be required during that time frame.

Ross said that additionally, classes the week of Nov. 23 will be canceled to allow teachers to prepare for the transition. Each building’s principal will share with families more details on remote learning in the coming days.

“While I know this news may be disappointing for some of our families, the health, safety and well-being of our school community remains our top priority,” said Ross. “It is our hope that we can return to in-person teaching and learning soon, as long as we have the available staff to do so. Our top goal is to continue the learning process for our students in the meantime.”

On Thursday, the district’s COVID-19 dashboard located on the district website, showed 277 students and 29 staff members were quarantined. Twenty-two students and seven staff members were reported to be positive on Thursday.

Hamilton County’s 14 day positivity rate as of Thursday was 28.1 percent.

The district’s food service department will provide drive-thru, grab and go meals from 11 a.m. until noon Monday at Webster City Middle School and Northeast Hamilton Elementary School.

District staff will also work on plans to provide meal service over the next several weeks, Ross said.

Ross encouraged district families to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thanksgiving recommendations which include avoiding contact with people outside their own household, avoiding large indoor gatherings, wearing a mask when indoors and maintaining at least six-feet of distance. Individuals who travel outsde the state many need to quarantine for 10 to 14 days upon return.

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