Clear Lake Schools ready to launch online learning

Lockers have been cleared and bags of student possessions were readied for pickup at Clear Lake Schools.-Reporter photo by Chris Barragy.

by Marianne Gasaway

Learning will continue for Clear Lake students, despite the closure of schools through at least April 12 due to concerns about the spread of COVID 19.

Superintendent Doug Gee reviewed the district’s plan for the immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic at a special School Board meeting held Wednesday, March 19.  Discussion also included possible action in the event classes do not resume this school year.

Gee reported that by this week, all Clear Lake students, K-12, will have computer devices in their possession and will be ready for remote learning. Those in grades six to 12 already use devices which they take home all school year.  This week, kindergarteners through fifth graders will be issued Chromebooks or iPads.

CL Tel has offered to provide internet service for any families in need.

“I am so impressed with my staff and community,” Gee told the Board.  “It has really been cool to see a community brought together like this— churches, individuals, banks, businesses. This is a fluid situation, but we’ve been proactive about it.”

Gee said he has been participating in two to three webinars daily with Iowa Department of Education and Central Rivers Area Education Association officials.  In addition, the district’s administrative team meets daily to prepare for working with students.

“The underlying theme to this whole thing when we talked to our staff is that no one thought we should let kids just sit there for the next 30 days without any kind of learning,” he said.  “And because of our collaborative teams, all kids are getting the same learning.”

Teachers will be using applications like Google Classroom, Zoom, Flipgrid and more to communicate remotely with students.

“The last two years we have been committed to having our teachers become certified in Google 1 and we are so much further ahead of the majority of schools because of that,” said Gee.  

The district’s COVID-19 plan highlights the tools teachers will use to educate students and the curriculum at each level.

Gee said the district is still awaiting guidance from the state regarding how school closings will affect graduation and

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