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Pleasant Valley Community School District defends use of solid white dividers in cafeterias

Superintendent Brian Strusz says this option will both help keep as many students in school as possible and save the district money.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Officials with Pleasant Valley Community School District say returning to 100 percent in person learning on Feb. 16 felt like the first day of school all over again. And at Monday night's school board meeting, they hope to ease any concerns families might have, including on a practice inside their cafeterias.

The district is using solid white dividers in elementary school lunchrooms, gaining attention on social media last week. 

Superintendent Brian Strusz says this option was chosen over plexiglass to save the district nearly $100,000.

He says students are free to interact with those around them, and this practice is in place to make sure as many kids stay in school as possible. 

"We're very proud of our students and staff and what they did in that situation," he says. "They're still socializing with the kids to the left and right of them, sometimes behind them as well, but the whole thing was (about), 'How do we reduce that distance so we don't have eight students in quarantine at a time?'"

Superintendent Strusz says there aren't any changes being made to the district's return to learn plan right now, and parents are encouraged to attend Monday night's school board meeting at 6 P.M. 

Also on the Feb. 22 agenda is an update to the new Forest Grove Elementary School. Construction of the district's eighth building is expected to wrap up May 2021. The new school is expected to open to students and staff for the 2021-2022 school year.