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College Community School District creates extra consequence to move students online

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:41 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The College Community School District created additional restrictions for some students who choose to learn all online.

The district had parents fill out a forum to go online, which said voluntary non-medical participation in the online program would require students to waive access to all school-sponsored activities, with an exception for special events like prom or graduation. Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Unit learned these are additional consequences the district created for students who choose online learning.

Heather Doe, who is a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Education, said in an email to i9 that these decisions are made locally unless a school district is approved to temporarily provide primarily remote learning for a two-week period.

“When [the waiver] is granted, school districts must also cease in-person extracurricular activities during the entire time period that students are receiving 100 percent remote learning within the approved 14-calendar-day window,” she said. “The school district is best positioned to answer questions about its specific policies.”

Steve Doser, who is a spokesperson for the College Community School district, said in an email to i9 that decisions were based on the needs of their district.

“Our temporary virtual program is designed to address medical needs or concerns related to exposure to COVID-19,” he said.

The school district has put up other barriers to stop people from learning online. Last month, our KCRG-TV9 i9 investigative unit learned the school district was wrongly citing state law as a reason for requiring a doctor’s note to move a student fully online.

Gretchen Dennis, who is a parent in the district, said she saw the ban in the paperwork to move her three kids online. But, said those threats were empty because one of her children is participating in an after-school musical online.

“It makes you wonder if it was to try and discourage people,” she said. “I know, I think it’s been difficult to maintain.”

There are reasons to want to keep students in the classroom. A report from the Rand Corporation, which is a think-tank, found students are less prepared to participate in grade-level work.

Governor Kim Reynolds said in her Condition of the State address moving kids back into the classroom is a priority.

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