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Group of Solon parents want school to move online

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 6:48 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Members of a newly-formed group in Solon said they don’t have confidence in the school Superintendent and they want to change the district’s response to the pandemic.

Solon School District doesn’t require masks but expects students to wear them. It also hasn’t asked the state for an online waiver due to virus activity, despite the Johnson County Public Health Department urging it to.

Erika Billbarck, who has 8th-grade and 5th-grade students in Solon, said she doesn’t understand why the district isn’t moving online after Johnson County Public Health Department recommended it.

“They don’t seem to be following the Johnson County Public Health Department put out for schools to go virtual and to postpone extracurricular activities,” she said. “They’re just not buying into that, even though as far I know every other public school has done so.”

Billbarack said she’s already switched her children back to online learning and believes the quality of online learning will improve if all Solon students move to remote learning.

The Iowa City Community School District shifted to all online this week. The parent group is called “Healthy Solon Community School District” and is pushing for virtual classes starting Monday.

But Solon’s Superintendent Davis Eidahl said the switch to online classes won’t happen, as of Friday. He said he plans to keep students in the classroom as long as possible and couldn’t say what specific “black and white” numbers would make the school apply for a waiver.

As of Wednesday, the absentee rate in the district’s high school for students was at 20%. The district’s middle school was at 17%.

Superintendent Eidahl told TV-9 he receives just as many comments from parents in his district about the importance of keeping students in the classroom.

“There are people who are upset and there are people who aren’t upset,” he said.

Stephanie Edmonds, who has a 1st-grade student in Solon, said she’s lost confidence based on other issues like communication.

“They’re not as transparent,” she said. “And when we communicate with them we don’t often get responses back.”

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