CAMANCHE — As the Camanche School District continues to work through which Return-to-Learn plan to utilize this fall, available childcare is also a factor the district is considering.
The Camanche School District intends to formally announce Aug. 10 which Return-to-Learn plan it will implement at the beginning of the school year. The first day of school for the district is slated for Aug. 24.
A proclamation from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds requires students to have a minimum of 50% of learning in person. The online option can only be used with permission from the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Education due to the proclamation.
All students in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade will have classes in person every day under both the in-person and hybrid learning plans, Camanche School District Superintendent Tom Parker confirmed Monday. If the district utilizes the hybrid plan, students in grades five through 12 would have to attend classes in person five days every two school weeks, Parker confirmed.
“I’m hoping we’ve already addressed the daycare question for most families because I’m thinking if we take care of our elementary students, that’s typically the age group where daycare is the biggest priority,” Parker said. “Bottom line is regardless if we’re in person or we’re a hybrid, those kids will be in our facilities for the school day.”
Camanche School Board member Stacy Kinkaid would not be comfortable if she had a child from age 10 to 14 staying home on a daily basis by themselves, she said.
“It’s one thing to let them stay home a couple hours here or there, a day,” Kinkaid said. “But to be home with two parents working five days a week, month after month, to me is a tough situation for families. That’s my only concern with the hybrid plan.”
Parker said it took time to develop a workable solution the district thought was doable at the elementary school level. The district is willing to find a solution if they determine they need to find a solution with the younger middle school students, Parker said.
Middle School Principal Justin Shaffer said he is willing to explore potentially assisting parents with daycare on the days middle school students are not attending classes in person.
“Maybe the school has associates available to help with the daycare component of things,” Shaffer said. ”And we could just have them in a space where they would be socially distanced from others working on online work and then maybe we could provide some other opportunities for them throughout the day. I’m not really sure how many parents it would be... I don’t know at what age you feel comfortable with them staying home knowing they have to come up with food for themselves potentially and have online work to do. So that’s something that we can entertain.”
The district could survey parents of fifth and sixth graders specifically whether they would be comfortable with students being home alone five days out of a two-week period if the district utilizes the hybrid model, Shaffer suggested. Shaffer said they could ask if the parents would be looking at daycare options specifically provided by the school district.
No decision was made whether the district would provide daycare assistance for middle school students.