Western Dubuque Community School District
Address: 310 4th St. SW, PO Box 68 | Farley, IA 52046
Phone: (563) 744-3885
Fax: (563) 744-3093
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November 11, 2020
COVID-19 Potential Move to Remote Learning Information
With the high positivity rate in Dubuque County, as well as across the state, there have been several school districts that have moved, or will be moving to a remote learning model. With both small and large districts moving away from face-to-face instruction, we believe we need to share our thoughts with all of you on when and why our school district would move to remote learning for all students.  

Since the school year began, we have been tracking positive cases and exposures in our schools. The data we have collected indicates that almost all of the positive cases have come from events that happen outside of our schools. Mandatory face coverings, hand sanitizing stations, and extra efforts to disinfect our buildings are all things we have proactively done to mitigate the spread of the virus at school. We believe these measures have contributed to the low transmission rate inside our walls. School seems to be one of the safest places for students and staff to be protected from contracting COVID-19, so moving to remote learning does not seem to be something that would be beneficial at this time. However, if the data we track indicates that the virus is spreading at school, and that spread is significant, we would look at moving a grade level, or possibly an entire building, to remote learning for a short period of time.  

So, what other factors would cause us to consider moving a school or our district to remote learning for all students? First of all, if we are unable to staff a school appropriately due to absenteeism, we would need to move to remote learning for all students attending school in that building. While this has not happened yet, we have been short staffed in different buildings several times this year. The number of substitutes available in our district is down, and that makes things more challenging when staff are out for several days. If we reach a point where we simply don’t have enough staff members and substitutes to safely keep a school open, we would need to move to remote learning for that school.  

Another factor that would impact the entire district is low staffing levels in our transportation department. We have 35 bus route drivers who transport over 3000 students to and from school and activities each day. We do have substitute drivers to fill in when someone is gone, but in the past week we needed to use every substitute driver, as well as some of our bus mechanics and office staff, to keep our busses rolling and our district open. If we reach a point where we don’t have enough drivers to transport our students, we would need to consider moving to remote learning across the district for a short period of time.  

There may be other considerations out of our control that would force our district to move to remote learning, but at this time the things listed above are the major factors that would be considered when making this decision. Our goal is to keep our schools safely open for our students and staff.  

Snow Day Information
There have been a few questions about what we will be doing on snow days this year. At this time, our plan is that snow days will not be remote learning days, and therefore won’t count as a day of attendance. We are not currently a 1:1 computer school district and therefore not every student would have a device to engage in remote learning if the weather causes a cancelation of classes. If we have an unusually bad year for weather, we will re-evaluate this decision and determine if we need to change.

Governor’s Recent Proclamation  
Yesterday, Governor Reynolds shared a proclamation that went into effect across the state today. The changes she shared will limit the number of fans that are allowed to attend school events (2 tickets issued per student participant). The proclamation does impact several areas that are not related to schools. You can read the entire proclamation which is attached.  


We hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Take care of yourself and your family.  
Rick Colpitts, Superintendent


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