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Return to Learn

April 2 COVID Update

Current status for Hudson Schools is: None to Minimal with a 14 day rolling average of 4.5%. We currently have 0% of students absent for a COVID related reason.

April 9 COVID Update

Current status for Hudson Schools is: None to Minimal with a 14 day rolling average of 5.2%. We currently have 0% of students absent for a COVID related reason.

April 16 COVID Update

Current status for Hudson Schools is: None to Minimal with a 14 day rolling average of 5%. We currently have .39% of students absent for a COVID related reason.


RtL Decision Matrix for the Hudson Community School District
Summary of our Return to Learn Plan Health and Safety Mitigation Plan Frequently Asked Questions

ParadeAsynchronous Learning 

The fact is, we don’t know yet what this fall is going to look like when school starts. All of us hope our return will look similar to how it has looked in prior years. But, we need to prepare for the reality that it might not. Truthfully, as we embark on the 2020-2021 school year, it is important that we be prepared for a whole host of disruptions.

Our Return to Learn Plan (RtL) is built on the premise of ‘asynchronous learning’. Simply stated, it is based on the idea that we are equipped for students to learn material at different times and at different locations. Sometimes referred to as ‘location independent’, our plan is designed in a way where we can switch seamlessly from on-site traditional learning to remote learning with little advanced warning. 

Academics and the Research on Extending the School Year

Effect SizeWhile the school start date of August 23rd was waived this year paving the way for schools to start earlier if they so chose, very few Iowa schools have decided to take advantage. While on its face there are significant financial hurdles to adding days to a school calendar, from an academic standpoint there is an even more important point: it won’t work. 

First, think about this concept from a purely objective viewpoint. Our students missed almost a quarter of the school year. There is no way to fit 8 weeks (in our case) of instruction into a one or two week period. It's impossible and defies logic. Second, lengthening the school year is not supported by scholarly educational research. Educational researcher John Hattie has found that adding days to a school calendar only has a .23 effect size on academic achievement. Effect size is a statistical measure of standard deviation and the larger the effect size, the larger the impact would be on the population. 

The good news is that we know what works. A comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). This means we tailor instruction to the needs of our students using an ‘on time model of remediation’. Not all students are going to need the same remediation at the same time over the same topics. According to Hattie, this type of support system has an effect size of .73. Coupled with interventions, the annual impact on a student’s achievement could be has high as 1.29 standard deviations. To put that in persepctive, a one standard deviation increase is typically associated with advancing student achievement by two to three years.
(John Hattie, Visible Learning: A Synthesis of over 800 Meta Analyses Related to Student Achievement (2009), p.7

At the same time, we need to be clear that we haven’t completely shut the door on modifications to the school calendar. It is possible we could decide the length of the school year needs to be extended: but would it make more sense to add those days on to the back end of the calendar as opposed to the front end? When hopefully we have a much better sense of how the pandemic is impacting society? Or when we know how much and what targeted instruction is necessary? Additionally, we could determine that it makes sense to lengthen the school day—but maybe that doesn't need to happen until second semester. The point is, until students return to school and we start working with them, we really don’t know what they need. In any event, adjustments to the academic calendar should only be made when we have a clear picture of what we would do with that time and a way to demonstrate it truly is a value added benefit for students.

Our Plan

We intend to start school as scheduled on August 24. Once students are back in classrooms, it’s incumbent on our faculty to determine where students are in their continuum of learning by utilizing the assessment systems already in place. Then quite simply, we provide on-time remediation as we approach new learning. As we prepare to deliver instruction on a new standard, we are identifying what skills preceded that concept and are necessary in order to attain mastery of new learning. In some instances, that skill might have been scheduled for instruction during the time of our school closure. It is possible then, that remediation might include a very quick mini-lesson, or in others, it may require a more intensive approach. This is the appropriate time for personalized learning of that skill using our Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).

You should expect then, that students will be exposed to grade level curriculum. In other words, if your child is going to be in 4th grade, we will start the year with 4th grade curriculum. Likewise, students who are taking Physics will be exposed to that curriculum as opposed to curriculum that may not have been covered in Biology. As students progress on their continuum of learning, we will fill in those gaps as we approach new standards and expose those missed opportunities through our scaffolding up process.

Opportunities for Extended Learning 

Not every student in the district will require the same level of instruction or remediation. Additionally, some students may need social, emotional or behavioral health support. We feel a blanket approach is inappropriate and instead believe a more targeted and strategic pathway will yield better results. We are then, extending our school day for those parents/students/teachers who feel additional remediation is warranted. This will be accomplished by leveraging our already successful ‘After School Program’, utilizing our highly qualified instructor(s) working in tandem with pre-service teachers. Contact your child’s building principal and teacher for details on how we can best meet your needs. We are also prepared to offer school transportation services where necessary. 

Resources and Guidance Documents 

  1. Limited Facility Usage to Resume on January 9, 2021 *posted on December 18, 2020
  2. Press Release on Updated Quarantine Guidelines *posted on December 4, 2020
  3. Updated School Guidance from the Black Hawk County Health Department *posted on December 4, 2020
  4. An Explanation for the Sudden Increase in Quarantine Numbers *posted on November 12, 2020
  5. Data Suggests Transmission is Not Occurring in School *posted on November 12, 2020
  6. Summary of Enhanced Public Health Measures *posted on November 10, 2020
  7. Decision Points on Changing Our Learning Model *posted on November 5, 2020
  8. Joint Statement from Black Hawk County Superintendents on Rising Cases *posted November 5, 2020
  9. Updated Guidance on Face Coverings and Implications for Quarantine *posted September 29, 2020
  10. Return to Learn published June 9, 2020
  11. Meeting the Needs of All Students When We Return to Learn: Academics and the Research on Extending the School Year (Part One)- published July 17, 2020
  12. How Your Child’s Teacher is Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year – published June 24, 2020
  13. Meeting the Needs of All Students When We Return to Learn: The Forecast (Part Two)- published July 24, 2020
  14. Meeting the Needs of All Students When We Return to Learn: Our Plan (Part Three)- published July 1, 2020
  15. Return to Learn Plan-Department of Education Submission
  16. Regulatory Guidance from the Iowa Department of Education *posted July 14, 2020
  17. Too Much or Not Enough? published July 8, 2020   *posted July 28, 2020
  18. Heavy Seas on the Horizon, But We’ll Trim Our Sails published July 15, 2020  *posted July 15, 2020
  19. If We Go Remote… published July 21, 2020  *posted July 28, 2020
  20. Our Runway Grows Short published July 28, 2020  *posted July 28, 2020
  21. Return to Learn Resources for Famiies and Communities *posted July 30, 2020
  22. Statement on the Reopening of Schools * Posted August 11, 2020
  23. Coronavirus News from the District (archived page from the beginning of the pandemic)

How Decisions on Closure Will be Made 

One shouldn’t assume that a singlular diagnosed case of COVID-19 will result in a closure or shutdown of any school or attendance center in our district. If there is evidence of transmission, decisions about school closure will be made with the Black Hawk County Health Department, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Hudson Community School District.  


Required Continuous Learning

Learning from home


If it becomes necessary to close school this year for an extended period of time, our remote learning program will be required. This means attendance will be taken, grades and credit will be awarded, and teachers will be delivering instruction. The remote learning plan will only be activated when in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education.

Our computer fleet has been completely replaced over the summer and all our devices have been configured to work outside the district. If the switch to required remote learning becomes necessary, we are prepared to deploy the entire fleet of devices. At this time, we have enough devices for every student, grades K-12. 

We are much better prepared this time, and our teachers have been busy this summer taking courses on facilitating online learning. Additionally, we are planning to utilize 3 specific online learning platforms for our students that should eliminate multiple emails and streamline the learning process. K-2 will use ‘Seesaw’, 3-6 will use Google Classroom, and 7-12 will use Canvas. For an idea of  how much daily instruction you can expect your child to receive under our remote learning plan, please refer to this document.

Hybrid Models of Learning

Hybrid Model of Delivery

The primary hybrid model that has been developed in Hudson considers an approach where only half the students are in attendance in any one give day. This model will be utilized when the board feels it is necessary to maintain physical distancing in our classrooms and in our school buildings. We can achieve that by operating at 50% capacity. According to the governor’s most recent proclamation, under a hybrid model at least  half of the instruction for students must occur onsite.

Voluntary Offsite Instruction
Technically a hybrid, our voluntary offsite learning option is designed to meet the needs of parents who request offsite learning accommodations for their children the duration of the public health emergency or until they (parents) determine their child can safely return to traditional in-person learning. The District has partnered with Edgenutiy to provide online content to our students being served under this model. Our elementary students are being served with the Pathblazer curriculum, whereas the secondary students are using Edgenuity courses. You can expect regular contact and check in from a district teacher to provide instruction, answer questions, and take attendance as required under the Compulsory Attendance Law. Please understand, this type of learning is not a replication of regular onsite learning.

When this model is utilized by families, we are asking they make arrangements with building administration when preparing to transition back to onsite learning. If you are interested in this model, please complete this form for each child in your family who will be participating in this option. Questions regarding the onsite program can be referred to Mr. Bell.



On-Site Learning

Kindergarten learning


Our desired state though, is to have all our students back in school, as normal on August 24! At this time, we are planning for a regular start to the school year as was originally adopted by the board when the academic calendar was approved in February. There are no planned changes to the calendar, but we may determine at a later time that it makes sense to add days on to the school year or add minutes on to the school day. Unfortuntaely though, snow days will still need to be made up, since the legislature did not make that change during the legislative session.

We know you want onsite learning too! Onsite learning is just that: all our students in school, attending as they normally would for a regular day of school, all day long. We will get there, of that we are certain! Of course, in this scenario we will take and consider all the appropriate safety measures we can to ensure that will happen. To see what some of those effort are, please see below.

District Leadership Team

Contact Title Area of Expertise/Responsibility
Dr. Tony Voss Superintendent Overall operation and execution of the Return to Learn Plan
Mr. Mark Schlatter P-6 Principal Overall operation of P-6; hybrid, onsite, and remote learning
Mr. Jeff Dieken 7-12 Principal Overall operation of 7-12; hybrid, onsite, and remote learning
Mr. Jeff Bell At-Risk Services At-Risk K-12; health and safety
Mrs. Teresa Kiewiet Instruction (Literacy) Iowa Academic Standards (literacy)
Mrs. Jennifer Owen-Kuhn Instruction (Math) Iowa Academic Standards (mathematics)
Mr. Mike Lewis Instruction (Technology) Required remote learning; platforms
Mr. Kevin Murray IT(Network and Connectivity) Required remote learning; devices and connectivity
Mr. Bryant Budensiek Buildings and Grounds health and safety; mitigation (facility)
Mrs. Kori Koop School Counselor (7-12) Social, emotional, and behavioral health; 7-12
Mr. Robert Driscol School Counselor (P-6) Social, emotional, and behavioral health; P-6
Mrs. Jan Brandhorst School Nurse health and safety; mitigation (student)
Mrs. Mary Seekins Faculty Representative Faculty concerns
Mr. Wayne Haskovec Faculty Representative Faculty concerns



Mitigation Efforts 

Students Employees
In most cases, face coverings are required. Face Coverings are required.
Playground Restroom
Students will use the playground in cohorts.

We have hired an additional custodian
for common areas and restrooms who
will work the day shift.

Recess Lunch
Students will use the playground in cohorts.

Where feasible and age appropriate,
some grade levels may have lunch
in their classrooms.

Passing Time Facilities
In most cases, teachers in specialty
areas will travel to classrooms.
New cleaning systems and equipment
have been purchased to help keep our
buildings safe and clean for
​employees and students.
Assemblies and Activities Co and Extra Curricula Activities
Large group gatherings and activities
will be limited during first semseter.
Students must be accompanied by adults
when attending events and are required
to sit in the bleachers. Congregating and
roaming around camus is prohitibed.
Visitors to our Buildings  
Our campus is considered closed
to visitors first semester. If you need
to visit campus, please make an
appointment. Face covering will be
required while in our facilities.
user profile image
Candie Kofoot made a post.
Posted: 08-29-2020

I want to thank all the staff for working as a hard as you do and for doing your best to keep our kids safe while letting them also feel some type of normal . These decisions are not easy and nothing will ever make everyone happy . Thank you

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