Students have mixed feelings heading back to school after state denies online learning waiver

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 10:19 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -Livian LaVine is signed up to start her high school career completely online, an option the Iowa City Community School District was hoping would apply to all students. 

The district’s request to start the year virtually was denied Thursday, but LaVine says most of her friends are still choosing to be online for safety reasons. 

“I’m obviously disappointed I don’t get to do in person- I’m doing all online. And I definitely feel more safe and secure doing that,” says LaVine. 

She and her friends say even though they’re worried about the coronavirus, it’s been difficult only interacting with classmates and teachers online. 

Amanda Darnell is starting her 10-year-old son online. She agrees that while virtual learning is the best option to keep kids safe, it won’t be easy on them to miss out on being in a social environment. “There’s no good options. A lot of parents and everybody is nervous about all of it either way. What their kids will do if they were home, if their kids went, either way it’s sad options,” says Darnall. 

Iowa City Community School District announced its plan to start online back in July, but it’s had to make changes after Governor Reynolds ordered that all schools must be at least 50% in person learning. 

The Iowa City Education Association says even though the district didn’t get a waiver, they still support its original plan to start online. 

“In spite of today’s decision on their part and I still think they’re an impossible part of the conversation and I hope that enough districts from around the state can say we have concerns, let’s talk, and we can have a dialogue,” says Iowa City Education Association President Brady Shutt.

The ICCSD posted a statement on its website saying that while this isn’t the outcome they’d hoped for, they are prepared. It also says the board plans to talk about next steps during next week’s meeting. 

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