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School district wrongly interprets state laws on online learning

Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 6:45 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The College Community School District is requiring a doctor’s note to guarantee students a spot in their online curriculum. The school district says it’s a requirement from Senate File 2310, which requires students to stay in the classroom.

However, our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Unit learned through the State Department of Education that a doctor’s note isn’t needed for online learning. Rather another proclamation, from Governor Kim Reynolds in July, allowed either a parent or guardian to voluntarily select a remote option.

But the district told parents, in a letter, the doctor’s note is required.

Steve Doser, who is a spokesperson for the district, said the district chose to follow the guidance of the original Senate bill because it couldn’t accommodate all online requests in its second semester.

“Our situation necessitated a method to prioritize entry into the program if we are unable to accommodate all requests in the second semester,” he said. “Therefore; we chose to follow the guidance of SF 2310 to ensure we are able to serve all families with a medical need and establish firm rosters well in advance of the start of the second semester.”

Doser said those factors that would make it hard to accommodate all requests are enrollment, available staffing, building assignments and program interest.

He said 9% of students have registered for the online program for the second semester. Out of the around 520 students, around 46% of students have a medical reason.

Nathan Soto, who is in fifth grade and has asthma, is one of those students.

His mother Jamie Soto was upset about the rule change requiring a doctor’s note when TV9 reported on it in November. She said since the rule change parents organized into a group on Facebook with more than 100 members. Some parents said some of their kids were accepted to online learning and others were denied.

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