Dubuque School District’s Hybrid Return To Learn program continues steady despite rise in COVID-19 cases

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 9:27 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Dubuque County, Danielle Meyer is sure she made the best decision for her daughter.

“I decided to have my daughter do 100 percent online and I would not have changed that decision at all," she said. "I think it was a great decision for me and my family.”

She works as a daycare teacher, so she knows what it is like for students doing the hybrid program.

“Oh my goodness, so with having 15 kids here every day, they are all in different grades, with different teachers and different assignments,” she explained. “So trying to find a happy medium with everyone and making sure that we are doing all of their homework while they are here and teaching them and helping them.”

But, for her, everyone should be learning online.

“I think kids should be at home," she said. “I think that schools should not be in session.”

Meyer said there is a big difference between students learning online and those participating in the hybrid program.

“Looking at the children who are doing the online school, they have a teacher every day, they have a schedule every day, there is routine and there is expectation,” she explained. “That is daily and I think that is very important.”

Even though positivity rate in Dubuque County has surpassed 15 percent, there is still another threshold: 10 percent absenteeism.

Superintendent Stan Rheingans said the hybrid program is here to stay, at least for now.

“We have about a 3.1 absentee rate today and that is due to all illnesses,” he said. “We average about three and a half percent on a normal year, so that is about right.”

Rheingans explained that, if the county does not have the 15 percent positivity rate and then the 10 percent absenteeism, the state is not going to give them permission to go fully online.

He said they would need to end up extending the school year if they were to move online without the state’s approval.

“That is not something that our budget would likely be able to handle,” he confessed. “Having permission for the online days to count is important to us.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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