WHS Returns to In-Person Learning

Waterloo Families,
Waterloo High School students will return for regular attendance on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.  High School students should return chromebooks that were checked out for remote learning purposes to the collection station in the main hallway.
Our staff shortage remains to be a significant disruption to normal operations.  Aside from still needing to fill several vacancies in our cafeteria program, we continue to experience much higher than normal absences among our employees due to COVID and other illnesses.  Initially, this was suspected to have been caused by the spread of COVID at holiday gatherings during the break.  While this may still be the case, we are realizing this situation could last a few weeks, instead of just a few days.  Waterloo High School going remote was to address this situation as a short-term solution, not a prolonged duration.
As a District, we will continue to focus on minimizing disruption of the school day for students in grades PK-5.  We will work to fill all elementary classroom vacancies.  We will fill as many JH and HS vacancies as possible, while anticipating many may go unfilled until this current COVID surge subsides.  Our JH and HS buildings will designate larger spaces during the day for students to go during any scheduled class that is without a substitute teacher.  We will provide supervision in these spaces where students can go and utilize this time as extra study hall time or to complete work assigned by the absent teacher that is excluded from school for COVID related reasons.  While the JH and HS will experience some disruption to the normal school day, our HS students will get to return to in-person learning. 
Current data regarding COVID and student/staff absences:
Active positive cases of COVID among students - 83
Close Contact exclusions from exposure at school - 15
Close Contact exclusions from home/other exposure - 162
Students participating in test-to stay - 12
Total students absent from school (PK-8, as HS is still remote today) - 360
Active positive cases of COVID among employees - 20
Several additional employees have symptoms and have been tested today.

We continue to consult with the Local Health Department regarding our student and staff illnesses as we struggle to find the best way to serve our students.  We are hopeful that this plan will best meet the needs of our students while anticipating these very complicated circumstances could last another 2-3 weeks.  We are hopeful that we will not need to return to Remote Learning for any of our students, while continuing to face evolving challenges that may require us to continue to adapt.
Brian Charron