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Articles from March 2020

Coronavirus Update: March 31, 2020

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

As a district, we continue working hard to keep up with changing circumstances and shifting guidance from our state education leaders. Last Friday, the Iowa Department of Education changed course when it reversed its long-standing guidance and announced that it would provide an expedited application process for school districts to provide online education for students.

While we have yet to see this application process, we believe it is important to move forward with providing students with learning. Our school principals and members of our educational support team have been meeting regularly to discuss how to best proceed with providing learning opportunities to students.

Tomorrow, the district will launch a second phase of educational resources for elementary, middle and high school students and families. These resources will be expanded to include a variety of handouts and worksheets students can do at home.

Beginning mid next week, middle and high schools will transition to providing students with optional, teacher-guided lessons and feedback from teachers on student work. Elementary teachers will continue to reach out and engage with students and families via Seesaw, email and phone.

Teachers will guide instructional activities and tasks that support daily learning for those wishing to participate, but we will not attempt to replicate a six-hour school day. With many adults working from home and juggling other responsibilities, we want to provide flexibility for students to complete learning at times when they have family support and supervision.

Keeping internet connectivity in mind, we are in the process of acquiring hotspots that will be available for checkout to families of middle and high school students to reduce the barrier of internet access. More details will be forthcoming regarding checkout of these hotspots.

While we know that online delivery will never look the same or be as beneficial as the education that happens in our classrooms, we are committed to providing the best possible experience to students as we navigate these uncertain times together.

We are finalizing the specifics of how this learning will be delivered and will share additional information later this week.

Coronavirus Update: March 30, 2020

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

Among the most common questions we receive are those inquiring about the status of high school proms and graduation. We recognize that these are incredibly meaningful, right-of-passage events for our high school seniors and their families. While nothing has been cancelled as of today, given the fluidity of the situation, it is not possible for us to know at this point what the status of these events will be. We are, however, committed to providing some in-person celebration honoring these events when it is safe to do so and will provide updates as possible.

Given the difficulty in maintaining the sanitization of playground equipment, and the volume/frequency of contact points on the equipment, all school playgrounds in the district are closed to the public until further notice. This closing comes following a similar decision by the City of Dubuque and a number of other municipalities.

Coronavirus Update: March 27, 2020

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

Beginning Monday, March 30, the district will offer three additional locations offering no-cost GRAB-AND-GO meals to those not easily served by other sites. Meals will be delivered to these locations by a district vehicle each weekday (Monday-Friday) and will be available at each site for a 20-minute period for walk ups only. In order to keep students and families safe, no drive-up requests will be served. Visit our FOOD RESOURCES webpage for a list of drive-up locations.

New locations are:

Table Mound Mobile Home Park (DOT side): WALK-UP ONLY
LOCATION: 700 Noonan Street
HOURS: 11-11:20 a.m.
MEALS: Lunch and Breakfast (grab breakfast for the next day when you pick up lunch!)

Table Mound Mobile Home Park (Casey’s side): WALK-UP ONLY
LOCATION: 1221 Maquoketa Drive
HOURS: 11:40 a.m.-Noon
MEALS: Lunch and Breakfast (grab breakfast for the next day when you pick up lunch!)

Super 20 Mobile Home Park: WALK-UP ONLY
LOCATION: 14501 North Cascade Road
HOURS: 12:30-12:50 p.m.
MEALS: Lunch and Breakfast (grab breakfast for the next day when you pick up lunch!)

The district has a number of high school students enrolled in post-secondary courses at the University of Dubuque this semester. All of UD’s courses are online for the rest of the semester, which includes high school students enrolled in college courses. By now, UD instructors should have reached out to their students along with instructions on how to access/complete the remainder of the semester. Please contact your UD instructor if you have specific questions about your course.

Coronavirus Update: March 26

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

CollegeBoard, which administers AP Exams, is offering free, live online AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These courses are optional, mobile friendly and will be available on demand. Courses will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. There will also be some supplementary lessons including topics from the final 25% of the course.


During this time, and throughout the year, there are many organizations focused on supporting our children and community. A list of organizations supporting children can be found in the Dubuque County Family Resource Guide, compiled by Dubuque County Early Childhood. These uncertain times can also be very emotionally challenging. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available for support 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

VIEW COMMUNITY RESOURCES on our Coronavirus Webpage for a copy of the Family Resource Guide and other information and support resources.

Coronavirus Update: March 25

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

The district’s Educational Support Team has created Suggested Learning Resources + Activities and a Social Emotional Learning Guide for parents to support learning with their student. There are guides available for elementary, middle and high school students. Additional resources will be provided weekly. Each guide includes suggested activities, accommodations to assist learners of all levels, and links to a variety of helpful online tools. Printed copies of these packets will be available at meal delivery sites on Friday.

VIEW EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES on our Coronavirus Webpage to access these materials.

We miss and care about our students and families! Teachers across the district are working to contact each of our families. These calls will mostly be made from non-district numbers, so if you receive a call from an unknown or a blocked number, please consider answering it so we can connect with you. In addition to phone calls, many teachers will also be connecting via Seesaw, Canvas and email.

For students taking Postsecondary Coursework, the district received guidance from the state that “even though the student is receiving high school credit, the course is ultimately a postsecondary course and the postsecondary institution has decision-making authority regarding operation of the course. The student should continue to participate in the course, unless specific exemptions are established by the postsecondary institution. The student should access the course according to alternative arrangements established by the postsecondary institution.”

As part of its response to COVID-19, Mediacom has informed the district of its low-cost internet program called Connect2Compete. The company has now increased the program’s speed to 25 Mbps down speed and 3 Mbps up speed. Qualifying families who subscribe before May 15, 2020, will receive 60 days of complimentary Mediacom Connect2Compete service.

Your household may qualify if:

    • Mediacom offers internet service in your community or area
    • You have at least one student in grades K-12 living at home
    • At least one child qualifies for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
    • You are not a current Mediacom internet customer and have NOT subscribed to Mediacom internet service in the past 90 days
    • You do not have an outstanding Mediacom bill or unreturned equipment

Mediacom is also providing complementary access to all Mediacom Xtream Wi-Fi Hotspots in various locations throughout Dubuque for 60 days.

Coronavirus Update: March 24

First up in today’s update, an important informational note: We continue to receive many messages and inquiries regarding online learning moving forward. This is an issue that school districts across the state are currently wrestling with and seeking guidance on. This afternoon, we learned from the Iowa Department of Education that a state task force is being formed on this issue that will meet later this week. We will look forward to receiving additional guidance and clarity from this task force as we continue to move forward with providing resources to our families and students.

Today, as we provide this update, we also take a moment to simply pause, breathe and focus.

As we have long said, it is truly the people who make the Dubuque Community School District amazing – and that has never been truer than in these times of uncertainty.

Our world today is different than it was a week ago, and we want to assure you that we are working tirelessly to provide resources, support and comfort as we face this challenge together.

As you read this message,

  • administrators and teachers from across the district are preparing educational resources for students and are working to roll those out to families in the next few days
  • district staff and many community partners are preparing meals to serve students throughout our community, all at no-cost
  • custodians are busy deep-cleaning our school buildings
  • central office staff are ensuring that critical functions such as payroll, accounts payable, technology infrastructure and more continue to operate
  • counselors are preparing resources to support the emotional well-being of our families
  • teachers have or will be reaching out families to check-in
  • parents are adjusting schedules and helping students continue learning at home
  • our community is rallying around those who are most vulnerable

Many questions remain – some we can answer now, and others that we are working to answer. Some answers may change over time. We are with you in navigating this new, unknown territory.

While we won’t always have an immediate answer to every question we receive, we can tell you with unwavering certainty that our entire district is wholly focused on the education, safety, health and wellbeing of the students and families we serve.

We take great pride and responsibility in being a critical community link and we are grateful for your support and partnership as we move forward.

The Dubuque Community School District is not, and will never be, simply a collection of buildings. Our schools are the collective of our students, families, staff and community members who provide critical services for our students.

We will work through COVID-19 together, we will continue to provide you with updates from the district for as long as necessary, and we will look with hope to the day we can learn and serve together in person.

Look for our regular updates and additional information to resume tomorrow.

Coronavirus Update: March 23

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

At the time of this update, there are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dubuque County. We again encourage all families, students, staff and community members to take steps to practice social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. Everyone plays a role in helping. VIEW PREVENTION RESOURCES on our Coronavirus Webpage.

In addition to taking preventative measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is also important to be aware of the emotional wellbeing of your family during this pandemic. As a reminder, the Child Mind Institute has developed a resource called Talking to Kids About Coronavirus recommended by the American School Counseling Association that you may wish to use to support conversations with your student.

We continue to receive a number of questions about educational delivery during this time of closure, and many people are making comparisons to steps being taken by our neighbors in Illinois. It is important to note that at the time of this message, Iowa law does not allow for online delivery of instruction. This continues to be an evolving situation, and state and federal guidance are subject to change, but right now it is not possible for Iowa school districts to resume classes in a virtual format.

While guidance from the state prohibits the delivery of required instruction, our school administrators and educational support teams are working hard this week to provide suggested educational resources for students during this ever-changing situation.

Beginning tomorrow, middle school teachers and staff will begin reaching out to families to connect during the closure. These calls will mostly be made from non-district numbers, so if you receive a call from an unknown or a blocked number, please consider answering it so we can connect with you.

Coronavirus Update: March 20

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

Yesterday, March 19, the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team announced that the first case of coronavirus COVID-19 was confirmed in Dubuque County. READ THE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT.

We encourage all individuals to continue practicing recommended social distancing and prevention methods to help reduce spread of COVID-19.

VIEW PREVENTION RESOURCES on the district’s Coronavirus Update webpage.

Beginning Monday, March 23, the district and a variety of community partners will offer no-cost GRAB-AND-GO meals each weekday (Monday-Friday) for individuals 18 and under (note that infant formula or food will not be available).

In addition to these sites, there are a number of organizations and food pantry sites serving those in need.

VIEW FOOD RESOURCES on the district’s Coronavirus Update webpage.

CollegeBoard, which offers AP Exams nationwide, provided an update this morning regarding its plans to offer an at-home testing option and to provide resources for student preparation. READ THE FULL AP UPDATE.

As with all other events in the district, the Kindergarten Welcome Events scheduled for March 31 have been cancelled. The district will reach out next week to families of students entering kindergarten next year with additional information about how to submit the necessary paperwork.

Coronavirus Update: March 19

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:


As mentioned in yesterday’s update, the district is working to provide enrichment resources for students during this closure and we know many families are anxious to have access to learning resources. At the same time, during this unconventional and stressful spring break, we hope you will take a moment to remember that our students have not yet lost any instruction. With so much going on around us, we also hope that you can find a chance to disconnect and recharge, even if only for a few moments.

We all desire to provide resources and information to families as quickly as possible. While seemingly easy on the surface, this issue is incredibly complicated and we have many teams working hard to provide resources.

As a large, complex district serving the needs of many student populations, we are focused on how we can provide educational resources in an equitable way that meets the needs of all students, while also meeting our legal requirements and navigating guidance from the state and federal Departments of Education.

While we can never match the education gained from being in school, know that we are committed to providing as many resources as possible to students. We are paying especially close attention to those students preparing for graduation this year to ensure that they remain on track to graduate.

We look forward to sharing additional information with you next week as it develops.

Coronavirus Update: March 18

Here are the latest updates from the Dubuque Community School District:

As we reach the mid-point of our scheduled spring break week, our Educational Support Team is currently planning and compiling enrichment resources for parents to support keeping students engaged during this school closure. We plan to begin sharing these resources early next week. While we know nothing can replace the learning that happens within the strong relationships between our teachers and students, we hope these resources provide parents with a variety of fun, engaging learning opportunities for students at all levels. This will be a developing set of resources that will continue to grow over time.

As this closure continues, public health officials continue to reinforce the importance of significant social distancing. During this time, the district encourages all students, families and staff to take this situation seriously, practice social distancing and eliminate all non-essential interactions with others.

There will be no driver’s education courses held during the shutdown period.