Council Bluffs Schools to return to hybrid learning, following Thanksgiving Break

Through an e-mail to parents from superintendent Dr. Vickie Murillo, the Council Bluffs Community School District announced that students will no longer have the “on site” learning option from Nov. 30-Dec. 18, and we will return to the hybrid learning plan. The Monday and Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving Break will be switched to remote learning days, meaning students will be working from home and having Google Meets on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24.

These changes in learning are cultivating many questions from parents and students, one of which being what was considered in the making of this decision. 

“We’ve really been watching the data, that has been the big thing,” Murillo said in a phone interview with the Echoes.  “Last July, the governor put out some parameters that we had to live within and we saw the data really start to climb in October. We went into 16% and it kept inching up and I spent every day closely watching our data of any students or staff members that would test positive or enter quarantine.”

According to the Iowa Covid Positive Case Analysis, Pottawattamie County is now experiencing a 22.3% positivity rate in the past 14 days. 

“The governor did say that once we got over 20% positivity rate that we could switch back to hybrid,” Murillo said. “Because of that and going into Thanksgiving, everyone is worried that there could be a larger spread. I just really wanted to ensure that we were able to go back to that hybrid setting where we had less students in the classroom, the greater ability to socially distance everyone and continuing to wear a mask is critical to keeping everyone safe.”

Murillo stated the two days being remote prior to fall break are to allow janitors to do a deep clean of the building. It is to be considered a “restart” and it is currently undecided whether teachers will have the option of hosting Google Meets from home instead of school on these days. 

Some staff members and students are wondering if this switch to hybrid will lead to a fully remote transition in the near future, and according to Murillo, this decision is not up to her. 

“The only way we would ever go remote fully is if the virus and the positivity rate really climb beyond what was safe for us to have our schools open and we would have to have that direction from the governor,” Murillo said. “The governor does not allow the school superintendent or the school board to completely close the school for a long period of time and move to remote. That would be something that only the governor would be able to declare.”