If and when school starts back up in the Cedar Rapids Community School District late this summer or next fall, the district has outlined three blueprints they will work from for the safe re-entry of staff and students.

Noreen Bush is the CRCSD superintendent and she laid out the plans to the Gazette.

It starts with the scenario that schools will be back fully operating in person. Bush said this can't happen until the district is fully stocked with protective equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) for anyone entering the schools, so they are working on obtaining that now.

Scenario 2 is that the schools will not be able to open at all. If that's the case, they are readying the online resources for students to take a full, approved curriculum online for the school year, as they would if they were in class in person.

A district survey revealed that 1,800 of the district's 17,000 did not have online access when schools closed for the year in March due to the pandemic. With funding from the CARES act and the state SAVE sales tax, each student from elementary to high school in the district should have a laptop for learning by the end of August, and more wi-fi hotspots are being obtained.

Finally a combination of both, which involves working out the logistics of 6 feet of social distancing on school buses and in a classroom of 30 or more students. They may have students alternate between online and in-person learning to have fewer students together in one space at one time. The biggest challenge with this model, according to Bush, is the scheduling burden on families.

There are a lot of issues to work out before kids can safely get back to school and the "new normal" may permanently include a blending of all these models.

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