North Scott return-to-school forum Tuesday draws 50

Board hears from pro- and anti-maskers

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About 50 North Scott residents spread out in the high school cafeteria for a back-to-school forum Tuesday, July 28, before the full school board.

Fifteen parents, one faculty member and one young alumni offered thoughts on the district's return-to-learn program.

Some, including Joe Gottschalk, sought more structure and backed a mask requirement. 

Others, including Neal Keppy, criticized the district’s mask requirement. “You can’t see a smile,” said Keppy, among about 10 percent of the audience without a mask. He said facial expressions are instrumental for teachers and students to connect. “A person has to make a connection,” he said.

Another parent said the district shouldn’t “brainwash” children with a mask requirement.

Parent Sue Veach urged more face shields than masks, and asked the board to adopt the standards she encountered at University Hospitals in Iowa City.

Superintendent Joe Stutting offered brief summary of the district’s return to learn plan prioritizing in-class instruction, with teachers preparing online lessons to help students, now, and be available should another pandemic shutdown occur.

He said the district will grant mask waivers to those who express medical or religious objections. But he said the district stands ready with 10,000 masks on hand, and an ability to order another 100,000 if needed.

He also said instruction will be more robust, with grades and assessments at all levels, than the district offered after the spring shutdown.

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