November 24, 2020

Delivery Model / Revised Guidance Indicators

Delivery Model After Thanksgiving Break

We will be submitting our application for approval from the Iowa Department of Education (DE) to continue 100% online remote learning for all buildings PK-12 after Thanksgiving break. The DE approves applications in two-week intervals, and if approved, the 100% online remote learning would continue for another two weeks through Friday, December 11. As you head into the Thanksgiving break, please plan to continue online learning on Monday, November 30. 

As a reminder, when a school building has been granted approval from the DE to move into remote learning, the ability for that school to participate in extracurricular activities is suspended for the duration of the period of remote learning. As a result, all practices, competitions, and in-person meetings of any sports, activity, or club will continue to be suspended through the period of remote learning. 

Revised COVID-19 Guidance Indicators & Recommended Educational Model

Last night, the school board approved new COVID-19 guidance metrics for the Ames Community School District. The metrics were developed by a workgroup of school board and ACSD leaders. Indicators are used by the school board to help inform decision making for the District’s educational delivery model along with other factors. The board and district also take into account academic needs, student social/emotional well-being, staff feedback, and medical community guidance.

This revised model uses individual school indicators and community spread to determine the recommended educational model rather than positivity rate. The specific percentages and case counts were determined using feedback from medical experts, evidence-based research, and ACSD historical data. In the new guidance document, the recommendation for educational level is based on the highest school indicator. The school indicator level will be determined by numerical value and feedback from building administrators.

If the community risk indicator is two levels higher than the school indicator, the school indicator increases by one. If at any point the community risk rises above the override level (>60 average new cases, per day/100,000 over a 14-day period), then the overall indicator moves to red.

For example, if school absences are green, but cases per day are at the orange level, then the overall indicator moves to yellow. This allows community risk to be a leading indicator to communicate the current situation in the community outside of school buildings. An exceedingly high community spread may indicate an immediate change is needed to prevent putting students and staff at risk.

This model does not include positivity as an indicator, due to the impact of Iowa State University’s models of testing on the Story County positivity rate. ACSD will still track and report positivity, as it is an indicator that the state uses to approve 100% remote learning. Guidance indicator data is available on the ACSD dashboard.

School Board Elected Leadership 

At last night’s school board annual meeting, the board elected Director Sabrina Shields-Cook to be President of the board and Director Michelle Lenkaitis as Vice President. The school board elects these positions annually. 

Thanksgiving Break

As a reminder, there is no school for the remainder of the week, Wednesday, November 25 – Friday, November 27.