State approves South Tama remote learning request

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in an emergency proclamation on Nov. 10 that gatherings that occur indoors with more than 25 people, or outdoors with more than 100 people, are prohibited unless all participants over 2 years old wear masks excepts when eating and drinking. In addition to these distancing and masking requirements, at an indoor youth sporting or recreational gathering, only two spectators are permitted for each youth athlete.

In a letter from Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo, South Tama County schools learned they would be approved to shift classes to 100% remote instruction beginning Nov. 16.

On Nov. 10 the school district reported over 30 staff were unavailable due illness or illness related restrictions.

Countywide COVID-19 data provided to the News Chronicle on Nov. 11 showed an increase of 170 positive cases over the last eight days for an overall county total of 1,361 positive cases. The 14-day positivity rate was at 21.5% and total deaths related to COVID-19 in the county were at 57.

The remote learning period at South Tama will begin Nov. 16 and will go through Nov. 24. With the Thanksgiving holiday break positioned directly following the 24th, South Tama expects to return to their 50% A/B hybrid schedule on Nov. 30.

This is also the same day the middle school classes are expected to begin utilizing the Partnership Center facility for hybrid learning.

The letter from the Department of Education also informed the school that in-person extra-curriculars should cease while the remote learning period is in place.

The STC High School Variety Show is scheduled from Nov. 12-14 and looks to avoid the extra-curricular restriction given that the remote learning period will not begin until Nov. 16.

Impacted extra-curricular activities on the South Tama calendar from Nov. 16 to Nov. 24 include a week and a half of high school basketball and wrestling practice, WaMaC Band and middle school girls basketball and middle school wrestling contests.

Varsity girls and boys basketball are scheduled to start their seasons together on Nov. 30 for a doubleheader at Grinnell.

Varsity wrestling looks to begin their regular season on Dec. 4 and 5 at the Independence Invitational.

Elsewhere in the county, North Tama schools are currently in a remote learning period and are scheduled to return to 100% in-person classes on Nov. 16.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck has applied for a remote learning waiver from the state and are expected to go remote through Nov. 24 as well.

Benton Community, Marshalltown and Hudson are other school districts in the region that either have moved to remote learning or will be doing so in the near future.