August 2, 2021
Mount Vernon Community School District Families, Employees, and Community Members:
Remarkably, the calendar has switched over to August and the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year is just three weeks away. While we are excited to begin the new school year, we continue to monitor the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges of the past several weeks with the pandemic are a reminder that we are still not out of the woods in dealing with COVID-19, and it is important that we remain vigilant as we approach the beginning of the school year.
As was the case over the past year we will continue to monitor the guidance from many groups including, but not limited to, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Association of Pediatrics, the Iowa Department of Public Health, Linn County Public Health, and the Iowa Department of Education. Recommendations from these groups will be utilized in updating the District’s Return to Learn Plan for the 2021-2022 school year. While we have heard recommendations for schools from a few of these entities, we are still awaiting further guidance from others. We are especially awaiting further guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education before updating our Return to Learn Plan. We expect to hear from these groups in the next week or so. Additionally, the Return to Learn Plan will be discussed at the next meeting of the Mount Vernon Community School District School Board on Monday, August 9th. It will then be reviewed and discussed by my administrative team during its next meeting on Tuesday, August 10th. It is my goal to have the Return to Learn Plan updated by Friday, August 13th, or shortly thereafter.
As you look forward to seeing the updated plan, please remember the following:
- All entities identified above are encouraging school districts to open up fully at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
- Iowa law does not allow school districts to put into place any mask mandates at this time. Any possible mask recommendations for the new school year will outline the reasons why such recommendations are being made, while respecting the decisions of individual families and staff members in making their own personal decisions regarding the wearing of masks.
- Iowa law requires that districts offer an in person learning option for all students and families that desire an in person learning option.
Our focus is the same today as it was the last day of school in May, and that is to open fully on August 23rd. We look forward to welcoming back the best students and staff in as normal a manner as possible, while also continuing to mitigate the presence of the COVID-19 virus. I will update you as soon as the Return to Learn Plan has been updated. Until then, enjoy the remainder of the summer!