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CRCSD Derecho Update 8-20-20

August 20, 2020 12:20 PM
Tree limb enters classroom at Pierce Elementary

Dear CRCSD Families,

As I’ve watched the destruction across our community and school district, it pains me, but I now look toward the work that needs to be done. I also see within the disaster a heartwarming goodness that prevails from people helping loved ones and others they’ve never met before. 

At CRCSD, we know that getting our students back to school is how we can help. It will bring some form of normalcy and support to the chaos of a virus pandemic and natural disaster--a combined catastrophe of historic proportion. We are working hard to create a plan that safely educates and nurtures our students within the parameters of our challenging situation. 

Current Overview - Buildings

  • Within our school district, all buildings have damage. Some not as much as others, but attention none the least. There is major tree damage at all buildings. We have significant roof damage at 16 buildings, minor roof damage at 12 buildings, and puncture damage and hood damage at the other 6. There is water and structural damage in many buildings that had major roof damage. 
  • Power has been restored to most buildings, but not all. 
  • The computer systems within all schools to communicate with families and conduct the business of getting everyone and everything back to school, have been down since the storm hit August 10th. We hope to have those up and running by next week.
  • A team from our national restoration firm has been on the scene day and night assessing the damage with our insurance company and beginning the process for mapping out a recovery plan. We hope to have an initial assessment to review by Monday, August 24th (ironically, what was to be our first day of school before the pandemic and natural disaster).

Next Steps

  • Focus on the emotional and safety needs of our staff and families during this trauma-induced time period. 
  • Review damage assessment and determine which buildings could open in the near term, and create a long-term timeline for the remaining buildings. 
  • Await Governor Kim Reynolds’ proclamation on the return-to-learn plan within these new disaster parameters. The governor announced in her Thursday press conference that the proclamation will be updated Friday, August 21st, and will permit schools with storm damage to move to primarily remote learning. If remote learning within damaged communities cannot occur, schools may apply for a limited time instructional waiver. 
  • Await the City’s stability of infrastructure (full power sources and internet) so the possibility of online learning can occur for all families.
  • Once building assessment, City infrastructure and proclamation are solidified, a new CRCSD return-to-learn plan will be created and shared with families and staff.

New Start Date

  • Our August 10, 2020, board meeting to obtain approval for a school start delay to August 31, 2020, was cancelled due to the storm hitting that afternoon. This date will not be a possibility now. 
  • There will be a delay to school, and we are working hard to determine when that will be and in what format. As noted above, we need a building assessment for 30 properties, a confirmation that the City’s infrastructure is secure, and the Governor’s proclamation before we can begin to make the determination. Please know we will communicate the new start date, per board approval, just as soon as we can. 

Volunteers and Donations

We have witnessed so much kindness and outreach in this newest challenge to the school year. While we can’t allow volunteers into our building for safety reasons, many of you have expressed a desire to donate to the school district. Here are two ways to reach our Cedar Rapids Community Foundation:

Please take care during these challenging times. Know that my heart is with you all and we will do everything on our end to bring our students back to us. We miss them so much. 

Best to you,


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