Virtual Learning Option to be Available


Ottumwa Schools plans to offer a virtual education option for the 2020-21 school year in response to COVID-19. “This option is important for our families who are concerned about sending their children to school this fall,” said Mike McGrory, superintendent.

Based on a recent district survey, a small percent of parents indicated they were interested in a virtual option and were not planning to send their children to school this fall. This option will be offered to students in grades K-12. Applications will be available next week with a deadline of July 31. 

The virtual education option will be presented to the Board at a special meeting on Monday, July 27 at Evans Middle School as part of Ottumwa’s Return to Learn presentation. Each department director will highlight their recommendations from each of the plan’s focus areas, including:  leadership, infrastructure, health and safety, Iowa academic standards, social-emotional, and equity. The meeting will be live streamed to allow the public to hear more specific information about the district’s plans for returning to school in August. 

The Iowa Department of Education required all schools to submit a plan to the state by July 1. The plans are designed to help schools meet the challenges of the upcoming school year by: 
Ensuring that remote learning options are available for all students;
Integrating public health strategies into Iowa’s schools; and
Enabling schools to move between on-site and remote learning as needed.

The district is also finalizing plans to provide laptops to all students in grades K-12 and reliable internet to families who currently do not have access. Families who indicated a lack of connectivity due to financial concerns will be contacted by district technology staff about setting up internet service later this month. Watch for additional information on device distribution.

“With so many unknowns around the beginning of the school year, Ottumwa is striving to provide options for our students, including a virtual learning environment,” said Jeff Kirby, Director of Innovative Programs. “We are working diligently to create a quality learning experience for our students.”