A community issue that affects schools

Superintendent Noreen Bush

I watch our fully-masked little students enter our school buses and I see them use the hand sanitizer, nod to the bus driver (who is also wearing a mask) and take a seat socially distanced from the other riders. Right there, children display everything adults need to do.

  • Wear a mask
  • Sanitize or wash your hands frequently
  • Interact only with others who wear a mask
  • Social distance when in a group setting
  • Oh, and don’t even enter the bus/work/community if you’re not feeling well

Students getting on the bus and using hand sanitizer.

And, take note that these same children continue to conduct themselves that way in the classroom. School district staff members have not only adopted our required safety guidelines (mandated masks, hand sanitizing, hand washing, and distancing as much as possible), they have taught thousands of children how to do it as well. I’m so thankful for our wonderful staff.

The school district is doing its part, but we need the community to “get on the same bus” and help stop the critical spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 spread is a community issue, not a school issue. We have determined by contact tracing that a high percentage of adults are contracting COVID-19 in the community and not via the schools.

So the school children can go back to school,
we need the community adults to follow the guidelines.

I plead with all who read this to do your part. Many school districts are facing incredible challenges as the rise in positive COVID-19 cases surges. It has impacted students, families, and our staff emotionally, physically and financially. 

CRCSD had over 65% of our families choose in-person instruction. To safely try to conduct this type of learning in a pandemic, the district chose a mask mandate to mitigate spread. Our staff members have adjusted everything they are doing to support our in-person students during this pandemic. 

Additionally, we have thousands of kids learning remotely. Our staff members who are working from the remote world have shifted their entire mode of work. It is absolutely incredible to watch. This has been a historically significant change for our staff, students and families.

We are struggling to fully staff our programming, because our employees and students are being affected by the surge in community cases. In order to serve kids in person, we need to have healthy adults. Our staff members are diligently doing everything they can to mitigate the spread of the virus in our schools; however, when they are exposed to someone positive in the community, that impacts our schools. 

To help with this, we have requested and have been approved for a temporary waiver to move to remote learning until November 24th…right before the Thanksgiving holiday. In-person learning will resume on November 30th. This has been an incredibly tough decision.

We absolutely want our kids in school. We are doing everything we can to mitigate in our school environments. However, as I noted above, this is not a school issue. This is a community issue. We need your help. 

As we head into Thanksgiving, we will all be faced with tough choices about being with extended family members. It is a unique, challenging year. We desperately want to have our kids re-enter our schools after Thanksgiving. For that to happen, we need to see the trend of positive COVID-19 cases decline and our healthcare system needs to be stabilized and less taxed. Please, take the safety measures when you are with others outside of your immediate household so that we can stabilize our community . . . and bring our kids back to school.

Thank you for all you’re doing to keep our community safe. 

Noreen Bush
Cedar Rapids Community School District  

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