Dubuque Schools superintendent says there should be no ambiguity; district to go back to hybrid learning after one-week break

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 6:42 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - If there is something predictable about COVID-19 it is that there always tends to be a spike in cases after a holiday.

Stan Rheingans, Dubuque Community School District superintendent, said the district saw increases in people testing positive after Labor Day and Halloween weekend.

”It is pretty predictable for us that the week following Thanksgiving we will see that spike again, so we are just going online just for five days,” he said.

Rheingans said there is logic behind why they are only moving online for a week instead of longer: he said that break gives them 10 to 11 days of distance between Thanksgiving and when they come back to school.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the incubation period for the coronavirus is 14 days.

”We do know that, from research, that 96 percent of folks who ultimately are going to have symptoms or become sick do that in the first ten days,” he said. ”Because we know we are not seeing spread at school this is not about stopping spread at school; this is about giving some distance between the holiday and when we come back to school.”

But moving every student to online learning is not that simple.

The district does not have enough laptops; they are more than 1,000 short.

”We do have 1,600 laptops that have now made it through Customs and are now in the process of being delivered,” he mentioned. “We are not sure exactly when they will get here.”

He said every student from sixth to 12th grade has a laptop, but not those in elementary school, so the district is ensuring every family has at least one laptop.

”If students in the same family have to share a device they will be able to do that and still access their education,” he explained.

Superintendent Rheingans reassured the plan is to come back to the hybrid program on Monday, December 7.

”I do not want to leave any ambiguity out there that this is us testing the waters,” he emphasized. “Our plan is to come back.”

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