Still without internet, Cedar Rapids family unsure how students will learn virtually by first day of school

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – The Cedar Rapids Community School District is in a race against the clock, trying to get all of its approximately 16,000 students connected to the internet before the first day of school next Monday.

a girl looking at the camera: Whitley Hudson, an incoming first grader, colors at her home in Cedar Rapids on Sept. 15, 2020.

© Provided by Cedar Rapids KCRG-TV
Whitley Hudson, an incoming first grader, colors at her home in Cedar Rapids on Sept. 15, 2020.

The school district estimated about 2,000 of its students did not have internet access at home before the Aug. 10 derecho, but they now believe that number has increased since the storm as providers continue to make repairs, according to CRCSD Executive Director of Digital Literacy Craig Barnum.

“I’ve been in education 27 years, and this is the most difficult challenge that I’ve ever faced, the hardest I’ve ever worked,” Barnum said.

Among the group of families whose internet has recently gone away is the Hudson family

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Hanover County is preparing for about 60% of its entire student population to be back in school under a relatively normal five-day school week. The system expects 56% of the 2,600 county students who receive special education accommodations to resume in-person learning, a spokesman said.

Select K-12 special education students in Chesterfield could return to four days of in-person instruction as early as Sept. 29. Downing says her son meets the threshold to be in the first cohort, but said the school system says otherwise.

Chesterfield’s Director of Special Education Diane Glover, who did not make herself available for an interview, wrote in an email that Cohort 1 “includes students with disabilities who receive adapted instruction on the aligned standards of learning, as well as students served in the Intensive Day Program, Autism Day Program, Intellectual Disability-Severe Program and Early Childhood Special Education as determined by the IEP team.”


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