School Officials Discuss Various Scenarios For Start Up Of School


(Le Mars) — School officials across the state, including here at Le Mars, are wondering what is the best method to follow in order to begin school this coming fall? Le Mars Community School District superintendent, Dr. Steve Webner says each option has its pros and cons. Webner met with school board directors Monday evening to begin discussions regarding the start of school. One particular challenge is having the space for social distancing. Webner says with any decision that will be made will be in conjunction with health officials recommendations.

He says it may not be possible to have classrooms with enough space for social distancing.

Although Le Mars Community school officials are concerned about the health and safety of the nearly 2000 students, they are equally concerned about the faculty and staff’s health. Dr. Webner worries about having enough substitutes available if any members of the faculty and staff should be infected with the COVID-19 virus.

The debate of whether masks or other face coverings should be worn by students is still being discussed. Webner says the Iowa Department of Education is at this time, not requiring or endorsing the use of face coverings and masks. It is generally accepted that wearing a masks or other face covering does help reduce the spread of the virus.

Another concern Webner shared with the school board is the cost and time it may take for sanitation and mitigation supplies, plus the time to constantly sanitize each classroom after each class.

Webner says he and the board of education discussed the three most-likely type of scenarios that are being considered to re-open the school. Webner says in-person classes is the preferred option, but may not be the best under the COVID virus concerns.

The Le Mars Community school district superintendent says a form of “hybrid” learning is also being discussed.

Webner continues to explain why the “hybrid” style of learning is not ideal.

The third style of learning being discussed is the “remote learning” where students would remain at home and conduct their entire course of education using on-line internet.

Webner was asked whether it would be practical for the school to scan the temperature of each student and staff member as they entered the doors of the school?

The school superintendent says he is still waiting for some guidance from both the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education for a specific plan for the upcoming school year.