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No new learning during COVID-19 break for Bettendorf district students

Teachers and staff are preparing academic and social-emotional support resources for students and families, but there would be no new learning during the break.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Students in the Bettendorf Community School District would have returned from spring break on Monday, but with school suspended until April 10 amid the global coronavirus pandemic, they have been staying home this week without learning materials.

"Of course we were slowed down by spring break," said Dr. Jim Spelhaug, the district's interim superintendent.

"What we have done is deployed all of our employees on teams and those teams are divided across discipline lines and various support services lines. Those teams are working together to get that material out to students no later than Monday."

He said having staff and educators work in teams would set up an infrastructure going forward, in the event that schools would have to remain closed for a longer time.

Neil Armstrong Elementary Principal Jayme Olson who is currently working from home said there have been "A lot of online meetings."

"We think it’s very important that all students across the district are getting the same message. So our teachers are working tirelessly to put things together so that we can give learning opportunities to students and families."

She added that the materials would be available online as well as printed and delivered to some families.

 "We’re being very mindful of our families that maybe don’t have the same online capabilities as everyone else."

Spelhaug said ensuring equity was a big factor in creating the academic support materials. 

"We can only, according to the state, present these as opportunities. We cannot require them, we cannot grade them."

He said at this time the academic support resources are review materials only and will not teach new knowledge.

"We would anticipate, we would certainly hope that this closure, these closures have to go longer, that the state gives us authority to be grading, to be assessing because it will really cripple us if we don’t have that."

The Bettendorf Community School District is providing curbside lunch bags during school closures from 11:30 A.M to 1 P.M. Mondays through Fridays at Bettendorf Middle School and Neil Armstrong Elementary School. It will also employ guidance counselors, arts, music and physical education teachers to provide social-emotional support and check-in points for parents over the next two weeks.