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Cedar Rapids Schools delaying start of school year following storms

Storm damage at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School on Monday, August 11, 2020. (KCRG)
Storm damage at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School on Monday, August 11, 2020. (KCRG)((KCRG))
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 7:21 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Following widespread damage in the Cedar Rapids area due to Monday’s storms, the Cedar Rapids Community School District has delayed the start of the coming school year.

Superintendent Noreen Bush made the announcement in an email sent to families across the district. The length of the delay to the start of the year is unknown at this point. Staff will not need to report during the week of August 17, which was intended to be their return ahead of the fall start of classes.

Bush said that all buildings in the district have some form of damage, including major tree damage, major roof damage at 16 buildings, minor roof damage at 12 buildings, and minor roof damage like punctures at the rest of the buildings. Most of those that suffered major roof damage also suffered water and other building damage.

Buildings are closed until further notice. Athletic practices are also canceled through the end of the week.

Read the letter sent to district families below:

Dear CRCSD Family, I’m not sure where to begin, so in those moments in life, I usually start with where to find gratitude. I’m extremely grateful for the love and support I am witnessing throughout our community: neighbors helping neighbors, city and electrical crews working 24/7, and families supporting each other. I had never heard of a derecho, but now I will have a very clear picture forever stored in my memory. Friends, I am sorry so many of you are experiencing more loss and stress.  

In regards to the current state of our school district, all buildings have damage. All buildings will need attention. Some not as much as others, but attention none the least. We have major tree damage at all buildings. We have major roof damage at 16 buildings, minor roof damage at 12 buildings, and puncture damage and hood damage at the other 6. There is significant water and structural damage in many buildings that had major roof damage. We have no power and district internet service is down, which complicates all recovery efforts. 

At this point, we know we will be delaying the start of the school year...for how long is yet to be determined. We will not have staff report next week, which was supposed to be the first week of teacher workshop preparation.  

I have been in communication with Director Lebo from the Iowa Department of Education, who sends her shared concerns for our district. We will continue to seek their support regarding options for our district during this catastrophe recovery period, considerations for the calendar year, and instructional platforms to start the year. There are many questions to be answered and the Department of Education wants to support us.  

We canceled the board meeting that was scheduled for Monday, August 10th. Until we know more about power and internet capabilities, we will not be able to solidify the rescheduled date for that meeting.

For student safety, all athletic practices are currently canceled for the duration of this week. We will provide further updates as soon as we can.  

All district buildings will remain closed until further notice.  

We will continue to communicate as we learn more. 

Thank you for your patience...hang in there. 

Sincerely, 

Noreen”

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