MHS to Pilot RLE on Wednesdays in November

MHS to Pilot RLE on Wednesdays in November
Posted on 10/27/2020

MHS RLE on Wednesdays in NovemberSince March, the Mason City School District has continued to adjust and adapt to meet the academic and mental wellness needs of our students and families during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The last 10 weeks have not been easy, but the daily efforts and continued support of students, faculty, staff, and parents demonstrate “Comet Culture” and how working together our students can safely learn in-person and online.

Since school began, MECC, ME, MI, and MMS have had few positive cases and close-contact quarantines. There have been 219 in-person quarantines (5%) in grades PK-8. That has not been the case at Mason High School. While still having a relatively low number of positive cases at MHS, the corresponding number of close-contact quarantines has been significant. 831 of MHS in-person students (31%) have been quarantined since school began, and 18 students have experienced a double quarantine.

Over the spring and summer as we developed our Return to Learn Plan, educators clearly articulated the challenges associated with simultaneously delivering in-person and online instruction. That is one of the primary reasons we created an agile model that assigned dedicated MCS staff to teaching online learners in Option 2, and dedicated MCS staff to teaching in-person learners in Option 1.  The current MHS situation with 31% of in-person students having experienced a quarantine, and 7% of students in temporary, two-week RLE is unsustainable for our high school faculty.

We expect to participate in a state rapid-testing protocol beginning in November that we hope will give lawmakers more evidence for applying different quarantine protocols for controlled K-12 schools where everyone is required to wear a face mask. Still, we also recognize the need to pilot an additional solution to lessen the significant burden that large numbers of MHS students quarantining places on our high school educators. If we were to see more positive cases of COVID-19, we would consider moving to a hybrid model.

Every Wednesday in November is an RLE Day for in-person MHS students due to the large numbers of high school students in quarantine and two-week, voluntary RLE. This gives MHS teachers an opportunity to plan and design instruction for students in quarantine and temporary RLE. All MHS students will stay home (with the exception of students in specialized classrooms) and engage in learning from home through Schoology. Students will also have Comet Connect Times with their teachers as needed/requested.

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