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Johnston Schools Listens to Community About its 'Return To Learn' Plan

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JOHNSTON, Iowa – The Johnston Community School District revealed the three learning options for its “Return to Learn” plan.

JOHNSTON, Iowa – The Johnston Community School District revealed the three learning options for its “Return to Learn” plan.

The district submitted three plans to the state for when school resumes this upcoming fall.

According to Communications Director Laura Sprague, the district plans to either have an on-site learning experience, required online learning model or a hybrid of the two.

The on-site learning model will incorporate social distancing.

“Students coming in school but in socially distant ways with some modifications and things like lunch, passing times, group sizes,” Sprague said.

The online learning will be similar to what students experienced during the spring semester.

Sprague said some changes can be staggering passing periods, dividers at lunch tables and more.

“If you don’t have as many students in a building and you also have access to larger spaces like gyms, cafeterias, atriums, community areas and with fewer students in the building you can be spreading out,” Sprague said.

The district hosted an online forum for parents with more than 500 tuning in to both sessions. Parents asked at least 150 questions about the upcoming school year.

Johnston Superintendent Laura Kacer said, “If we find ourselves in required online learning in August because of the different circumstances in our community, we recognize this is going to be a challenge.”

Kacer said all faculty will return for the school year to help students get the most out of their learning.

The district said it will require all staff to wear a mask, while students are highly encouraged to wear one.

“Our buildings and grounds crews have been working so hard to find green cleaners that are also very effective cleaners. They’ve built out cleaning schedules for all the high-trafficked, high-touched areas, things in classrooms, overall buildings like floors,” Sprague said.

Kacer said the district will not test students for COVID-19.

The school board will make a decision on which plan to use for the 2020-2021 school year on August 3.

“We have to do what our state and our national disease centers are recommending. We can’t just go rogue on that, so we have to do what is the most safe and then build in what’s the best thing we can do academically after that,” Sprague said.

Schools across the state have until July 1 to submit their return to learn plans.