The Winterset School District has been developing their “Return to Learn” plan for the coming school year. 

This plan covers how the school would handle a return to on-site learning, a hybrid learning system, or online learning. The plan is intended to allow for mostly seamless transitions between these modes of learning, should the need arise. 

The goals of this plan are to ensure remote learning options are available for all students, catch up missed learning during closures, integration of public health strategies, enable the district to move from on-site to remote learning as needed, and implement mitigation strategies that will allow for students and staff to return to on-site learning to the extent possible. 

This plan was divided up into seven areas: leadership, infrastructure, health and safety, Iowa academic standards, social-emotional-behavioral health (SEBH), equity, and data considerations. Leadership teams were developed in each particular area of the Return to Learn plan. 

This plan is currently in draft form and is subject to change as more guidance becomes available.

On-Site Delivery Plan

Under this plan, all educational services would be provided on-site in school buildings. Exceptions would be made for students with underlying health conditions, or parents that do not feel safe based on the measures put in place, to opt for remote learning. 

The mitigation protocols are to have students stay home if they are sick, encourage hand washing and temperature checks at home prior to arrival at school, encourage (but not require) masks/face coverings for students, and require masks or face shields for staff. 

There would also be teaching and implementation of personal hygiene measures such as frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer, covering of coughs and sneezes, social distancing to the extent possible, and how to properly put on and remove face masks. 

Student cohorts would be maintained to the extent possible. Students would stay only with their own class for the entire day, and stay within smaller groups in that class. 

The schools would not allow for large group congregation. Lunches would be served in the classroom. Gathering in common areas would not be allowed, and the use of lockers would be restricted to the beginning and end of the day.  

A daily cleaning schedule for all buildings would be put in place. This schedule would include an hourly cleaning rotation of restrooms and other high-touch surfaces. 

There would be routine cleaning of all buses and district transportation vehicles prior to and following each route. 

Staggered arrival and dismissal schedules would be implemented to limit the number of students in hallways. 

Use of and access to lockers, restrooms, and locker rooms would be limited. 

Procedures for screening and isolating students who display COVID-19 symptoms have been worked into the plan. Local health officials have provided a list of symptoms to screen students for. 

Virtual education would be provided for students who are unable to enter buildings due to health concerns. 

Schools would also communicate with those who may have been exposed and implement mandatory quarantines as outlined by the Dept. of Public Health. 

Required Continuous Learning

Under the Required Continuous Learning plan, all students would receive instruction virtually. 

All students are required to participate. Voluntary learning would no longer be an option. 

Preschool through sixth grade would utilize SeeSaw for online learning. Seventh through 12th grades would use Google Classroom. 

There would be a live instruction schedule in place, and teachers would have office hours. Assignments and activities would be posted to the district Google site. Attendance would be taken on live instructional days. Grades and credit would be issued. 

Hybrid 1

This hybrid plan is a combination of Required Continuous Learning and On-Site Delivery. 

The majority of students would be on site for daily learning within classrooms following all mitigation measures in the On-Site Delivery Plan. 

Students who are unable to attend on-site learning due to underlying health conditions, and those whose parents chose not to allow them to attend would participate in remote learning. 

There would be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous attendance for students participating in remote learning. Grades would be earned, and attendance would be taken for all students. 

Learning schedules for online/remote learning students would be posted weekly. 

Requests would be evaluated on a case by case basis. 

Hybrid 2

This hybrid plan is a combination of Required Continuous Learning and On-Site Delivery for all students. 

There would be a 50/50 cohort schedule implemented. Students would be split evenly between being in buildings or at home learning virtually. These cohorts would be grouped by last names. 

Virtual learning expectations of students would be shared by teachers. Students would be expected to participate in required learning. 

The Special Education cohort group would be on-site 4 days per week per their Individual Education Plan (IEP). 

Wednesdays would be dedicated to staff professional learning and remote learning expectations. 

All mitigation and academic procedures in the On-Site plan would be followed. 


The district will follow all state and athletic union guidance for activities, large gatherings, and athletics. 

Communication and expectations will be shared by the WHS activities director. 

The intent is to offer transportation for activities to students not on-site to be able to attend practiced and games if a Hybrid 2 model is implemented. 


Lunch would be provided either in person or drive up depending upon the model implemented, following federal and state guidance. 

For the on-site plan, students would eat in their classrooms and food would be delivered. All breakfasts would be grab and go. 

Under Required Continuous Learning (all remote learning), lunches would be available via drive-through. 

With a hybrid model, students would eat lunch in their classrooms when they are on-site and lunches would be available via drive-through during remote learning days, following federal and state guidance. 


Transportation would be provided for students under on-site and hybrid learning models. 

At this time the district is planning to offer all district routes and shuttles with the following modifications: 

Students and drivers are required to wear face masks while on the bus due to the inability to maintain 6 feet of social distance. 

Students will have assigned seats while on buses to limit exposure to others and allow for contact tracing if needed. 

The district is looking at hiring bus associates to assist with implementing these measures. 

Activity buses will run if the district has to implement Hybrid or Continuous Learning (online learning) plans and activities take place. 

Student Services

Any students receiving additional support such as Special Education, Talented and Gifted, 504, ESL, etc. will continue to receive such services as per their current status. 

Adjustments to current services may be necessary in order to adhere to the guidelines and safety protocols. 

All students in special education will be provided with the opportunity to come in for a “Jumpstart” to the school year. 

Jumpstart will take place August 20 and 21 from 8:30-11 a.m. for K-12 students. The program will take place September 3 and 4 from 8-10 a.m. for preschool students. 

During Jumpstart, teachers will work with students on re-acclimating to the school environment through tours, practicing routines (old and new), social skills lessons, teaching the “hidden” curriculum, building relationships and community, and learning how to navigate their lockers and schedule. 

Contingency plans

The school district is working with the Madison County Dept. of Public Health and other Madison County Superintendents to develop a decision matrix to guide their decisions. 

If a student of staff member is sent home due to a fever or other COVID-19 symptom, the schools would contact the Madison County Dept. of Public Health to determine if testing is needed. 

In the event of a confirmed test, contact tracing would be performed to determine who would need to be quarantined. This is why cohort grouping and seating charts are important. 

The student or staff member who is sent home would engage in teaching and learning virtually to the extent possible based on symptoms for the duration of the quarantine period. 

If the district has to change the plan they are currently implementing, they will communicate via Infinite Campus Messenger and district social media to notify students and parents. 

If a parent or guardian is concerned for their student’s health and does not want to send them to school under the on-site plan, accommodations will be made in order for virtual learning to occur. Arrangements will be made through the school counselor and nurse. These will be handled on a case by case basis. 

If the area experiences an outbreak or increase in confirmed cases, the district will contact the Madison County Dept. of Public Health and potentially the IA Dept. of Public Health and proceed based on their recommendations and guidance.