CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Iowa's 'Return to Learn' plans are forcing many schools to get creative. One school is preparing to leave the classroom altogether.
Students at Holy Family Catholic Schools are going to be outside for reasons other than recess.
Chief Administrator and LaSalle Middle School principal, Zach Zeckser, says the school has a lot of ground to cover.
It's a question teachers hear often, can we have class outside?
Now, it's a reality for students at Holy Family Schools.
"When it's appropriate and the teacher wants to and it works well for their class, they can bring their kids outside," Zeckser said.
He wants to utilize as much as the campus as possible to mitigate and social distance.
Students will be properly spaced apart, and both students and staff will be required to wear a face mask.
Face masks and face shields will be provided by the school.
"In this situation where there's so many questions about health and risks and concerns. This means that we have prioritized kids first and so the teachers are really the heroes here because there is risk for the teachers. We're doing everything we can to mitigate that for them," Zeckser explained.
Classes will have designated outdoor spaces for learning, spacing at about 35 by 35 feet.
There are two groups per grade level fifth through eighth.
Zeckser says each class has about 20 students.
Holy Family Schools is also working to get WiFi Hotspots for the outdoor classrooms.
"Each student has been purchased a clipboard to take outside so they have a hard surface on which to write. All the teachers have been purchased a microphone and speaker set up with a little headset. They are very light and super slick," Zeckser shared.
Holy Family Schools is starting a couple days earlier than usual to test out the new strategies.
"August 20 and 21 will be half days so that in the afternoons the teachers and I can talk about what's working and what's not and kind of triage the situation. So then on Monday the 24 we can really start back in with the plan and everything kind of well greased and ready to go," Zeckser said.
Holy Family Schools ask parents to send their student with a blanket or towel to sit on.