November 12, 2020 COVID-19 & Continuous Learning

COVID-19 District Update: Virtual Learning Plan for West Middle School

Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. Analysis and test, experimentation. Sars
Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. Analysis and test, experimentation. Sars. 3d render

Parents/Guardians and Staff:

At the start of the school year, the Return-to-Learn plan for the Sioux City Community School District was shared with all staff and families. The plan includes three learning models that can be implemented to ensure student education continues as circumstances with the pandemic evolve. Today, I am reaching out to you to share a change in the learning model for West Middle School, in accordance with the Return-to-Learn Plan.

Effective November 13, West Middle School will move to emergency response Virtual Learning.

Great consideration and analysis went into this decision. In order to move to Virtual Learning, approval is required by the Iowa Department of Education (DOE). To grant permission, the Iowa DOE requires two metrics: a community COVID-19 positivity rate of at least 15% and a student absence rate of at least 10%.

As the community COVID-19 positivity rate has increased, the District has carefully monitored absence rates for our schools. At present, West Middle’s absence rate has met the 10% threshold. Therefore, the Iowa DOE has granted the Sioux City Community School District’s waiver request to move West Middle School to Virtual Learning.

Duration of Virtual Learning

West Middle School will use the emergency response Virtual Learning model from November 13 to November 25. On-Site Learning will resume on November 30. While in Virtual Learning, if a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, a parent/guardian should still notify the school.

How Virtual Learning Works

All West Middle School students will participate in Virtual Learning and access their classes using Microsoft Teams.  In preparation for this shift to Virtual Learning, all students have practiced logging on, accessing their calendar, and participating in lessons. Students will follow their regular schedule and log on to each class using their Microsoft Teams calendar.  Students will not log on during lunch and advisory.  Like On-Site Learning, instruction provided to students during Virtual Learning is required to be completed with attendance taken by teachers, grades issued, and credit awarded.

Meal Service

Meals will be available for students participating in Virtual Learning. Click here for more details and meal pick up times.

Student Support

Teachers will continue to support student learning through the Virtual Learning process. If a student has any technical issues while engaging in Virtual Learning, the SCCSD HelpDesk is available to assist from 7 am – 7 pm. Technical support can be accessed by calling (712) 279-6803 or click here for online support.

Parent/Guardian Support

Parents/guardians provide a valuable role in supporting students at home during Virtual Learning. To help you support your student, West Middle will offer a parent/guardian tutorial of the online learning experience. One parent/guardian per child can attend the tutorial training on Friday, November 13 at 10 am, 11 am, or noon. To participate, please come to the school and check in with the office. All parents/guardians are required to wear a face covering for the training.

We are committed to the ongoing support of student education while protecting staff and students’ health and safety. Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate this change. If you have any other questions, please contact your child’s school or District leaders through Let’s Talk.


Dr. Paul Gausman
Sioux City Community School District