NCSD Parents of Onsite Learners,

We had a great first week of classes at NCSD! We are very pleased with how seriously our students are taking the new health and safety measures. At the same time, we are concerned by the significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Story County. We are monitoring this data closely.

Per state guidance (July 30), school districts may want to consider a Hybrid Delivery Model when a county positivity rate is 6-14% (Covid Percent Positive 14-Day Average). We started the school year with a county positivity rate around 2-3%. From Thursday to Friday of this past week that percentage rapidly climbed to over 14% and has continued to climb over the weekend. While we understand that the spike in this data is likely due to Iowa State University, the reported data and resulting state guidance is done by county.

On Friday afternoon, NCSD received the following from Story County Public Health:

Today the Story County 14-day positivity rate is 14.4% at this time. Suggested strategies are to:  reduce group events/gatherings, limit inter-school interactions and ensure student and staff grouping/cohorts are as static as possible and that interactions among groups of students and staff are limited.

Again, we understand there are driving factors contributing to the rise in case positivity across the county.  However, no matter the reasons for the spike, we would be naive to think that our community is immune to the effects of a higher case count within the county.

The District will continue with our current full-onsite model for this week, while monitoring the aforementioned data, as well as the rate of illness and absenteeism within each of our own school buildings.

In the meantime, NCSD is planning for the possibility of a Hybrid (A-Day, B-Day) model to begin the following week (Tuesday, September 8). To be prepared for the possibility of moving to a Hybrid Model, parents will receive their child(ren)’s A or B day assignment on Tuesday, September 1. (Children in the same household will be assigned to the same onsite day.)

A decision to remain full onsite or move to the Hybrid Model will be communicated on Friday, September 4. IF the decision is made to move to Hybrid, all students will take their devices home at the end of that day. A-Day students would then be onsite Tuesday, September 8, and B-Day students would be on-site Wednesday, September 9. Students would be online (Canvas) during their “off-site” day. (Note: Level III Special Education students would continue to attend class onsite daily; extra-curricular activities would continue to be onsite for activities daily.)  The Hybrid Model would have no impact on our full online learners.

The Hybrid schedule would be for the month of September, and would then be reevaluated for October. The decision for October would be communicated on or before September 25.

It is the District’s utmost desire to remain in the full onsite model of learning, however, we ask that families be prepared for the possibility of a switch to hybrid learning.

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