Return to Learn Update July 17, 2020

At last night’s Community Town Hall, we had nearly 800 participants join us via Zoom. Thank you for your questions and commitment to the safe return for our staff and students. If you missed the town hall last night, it can be accessed here.

In addition to the town hall recording and information, we have posted a Return to Learn FAQ. We will be continually adding to this document over the course of the coming weeks.

GOVERNOR’S PROCLAMATIONGovernor Reynolds released new guidance today as it relates to school for the fall in the form of a proclamation. Some important highlights include the following:

  • Districts are to provide, as the first priority, in-person instruction with an emphasis on what are often described as traditional core classes (Literacy, Mathematics, Science, etc.).
  • Districts have the authority to implement local Return to Learn Plans. Authority is also given for parental choice for fully online education from options provided by the local district.
    • In Waukee, that means we are moving forward with our two options to allow parental/guardian choice whether your child/ren will attend school in person or online. 
      • Importantly, this was discussed at the community forum and this provides the answer.
  • Districts also have the local authority to use temporary online learning for individual students and classrooms as well as for inclement weather days.
  • The decision for a temporary school or district closure requires approval from the Iowa Department of Education in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  • There is relief in the proclamation for accessing a potentially larger pool of substitute teachers through temporary changes to certification requirements, as well as, the removal of limitations on the number of days a substitute can teach in a school/district.

During the Community Town Hall we shared draft versions of online schedules for elementary, middle level, and high school. While these schedules may not be complete, they do give a solid sense for what a day in the life of a student will look like in an online environment.

In addition, for students who return to the in-person environment, we are envisioning the days to be similar to what typically occurs in the schools with modifications guided by mitigation efforts for health and safety.


As previously stated, this is an area of school services also being disrupted by COVID-19. We are working through solutions. We also understand the potential intersection between deadlines for fall Beyond the Bell registration and transportation decisions and we will work with families as decisions are made. 

Thank you to those of you who have already taken the survey indicating your preference on how you would like to return to school in August. If you haven’t filled out the survey, you have until Sunday, July 19 at 11:59 p.m. Survey link

By the end of the month, families who have indicated a preference for the online learning model will be contacted with more details regarding the expectations of the instructor, the student, and typical online school day.  At that time they will be asked to commit to their plans for the entirety of the first semester.  

We will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall meeting, via Zoom, to have a dialogue about our upcoming Bond Referendum in September.  If you would like to submit any questions ahead of time please fill out this form.

Signatures are still needed to take the referendum to voters in September. The petition deadline has been extended to Tuesday, July 22, 2020. If you are willing, please print off a copy of the petition, sign, perhaps collect a few more signatures, and then place them in the registration drop-box outside of the district office by the end of the day on July 22. 

Thank you for all your support. We will keep working to make the return to school in August the best for our students, families, and staff.