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Some parents in Iowa City find a unique way to get their kids in the classroom

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 4:41 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa City Community School District announced today that it will transition to a hybrid learning model on September 28th. It has a waiver from the state to continue online learning until then. The district cited a continued drop in Johnson County’s positivity rate for COVID-19. A group of parents found a way to get their kids in the classroom. Their kids are all sixth graders at Wickham Elementary in Iowa City. The 6 kids are dual enrolled there, and at Stairway 5 Stem Academy in Coralville.

“Dual enrollment is a homeschool option in Iowa where students can take a certain number of courses and extracurricular at their school,” said Stairway 5 CEO Ruby Donald. “And then take other subjects out of school.”

Monday through Friday Donald and a couple of tutors go over core subjects with the students. “We’re lucky to be here,” said Anthony Norem, who has a child in the class. “We’re lucky that our student is able to be with some of her classmates, have face to face interaction, but also have a quality of instruction from teachers that I wouldn’t be able to do at home.”

Norem says he and his wife reached out to parents about the class. He feels it’s a safe environment.

“In having a smaller group, we’re not going to have all the other kids that may be exposed to Coronavirus or other parents,” he said." The parents that we know of, we know they take precautions to keep themselves safe."

They follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks. A bottle of hand sanitizer is right next to their pens and pencils on each desk. It’s a change, but some kids are glad to have some type of normalcy.

“It feels good so that I’m learning again, and I can do something instead of staying home and doing nothing,” said student Erin Chen.

The program will run through the fall semester, but some parents say they are not ruling out having the program yearlong if the pandemic doesn’t get better.

More information on Stairway 5 can be found here: https://stairway5.com/

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