CENTERVILLE — Superintendent Tom Rubel promised that parents will have more information on the district’s “return to learn” plan by the end of this week.

Rubel said Monday that the district is finalizing a roughly 10-page outline of its plan that will be publicly available by the end of this week. The district is planning a Zoom town hall event to discuss the plan and answer questions on Monday, he said.

The district has, like many others, been working on three plans: face-to-face, remote learning and a hybrid of the two.

Gov. Kim Reynolds threw districts a curveball on Friday on the remote learning plan, signing a proclamation that requires districts to send kids to school at least 50 percent of the time when they return.

Districts must seek state approval before going to remote learning.

Centerville is now 1-to-1 throughout all grades, Rubel said. He also said the district believes it will be able to help all families with internet access in the fall, should the remote plan be needed.

Rubel did not outline the plan’s specifics to the board on Monday, instead talking about the plan’s focus broadly. Specifics will be found in the written plan and at next week’s Zoom town hall, he said.

Of the parents that responded to a district survey, nearly 65 percent of parents wanted in-school learning while 9 percent wanted an all-remote solution. Of the faculty surveyed, 74 percent favored face-to-face learning and just 0.7 percent favored an all-remote option.

Rubel said the district plans to have students in-person at its district when school opens in the fall, but said in the proclamation parents have the ability to opt for remote learning option.

The plan also will include details on the district’s sanitation efforts. Transportation will also be addressed, Rubel said.

The district has 247 employees, Rubel said, and 52 of them are more than 60 years old. COVID-19 is typically a mild disease, but can be more severe and deadly in people who are older or immunocompromised.

“We have to think in broad terms of, we have to keep our employees healthy,” Rubel said.

Bus drivers are limited in the district, Rubel said, and typically are in the older at-risk population. More than 600 kids in the district are transported by buses.

Rubel said the district’s supply of substitute teachers are also limited, and many of those are also in the older at-risk population.

“There’s so many different components to all of this that we have to deal with,” Rubel said.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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