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Schutte paints a return to learn picture at Rotary

A large Zoom crowd of Rotarians joined the virtual meeting held June 9. Membership was reminded that the club is hosting a Community Food Drive from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 20 in the Fisher Community Center West Parking Lot.

In-person meetings will resume June 16 at Elmwood Country Club. Zoom broadcasts will supplement to further allow social distancing. Mary Giese gave a preview of what to expect logistically.

Rotarian and school district Superintendent Theron Schutte spoke about meeting the challenges of educating students in response to COVID-19.

Schutte is wrapping up his fourth year with the district and began his remarks by saying this year was by far the most unusual of his 35 years in the education profession. He took the group back to March and commented on the timeline of the early days of the pandemic reaction by the school. Marshalltown was fortunate to be able to utilize the framework of its food program to help mobilize as they averaged 1,400 meals out of roughly 5,000 students. Schutte also described the benefit of being a one-to-one district is that Chromebooks are plentiful — 2,500 of these were deployed within the first couple of weeks as staff worked through challenges of Internet access. The district continues to work to ensure every student will be digitally linked for the upcoming school year.

There has been a significant amount of effort expended to make sure there is equity and access in a virtual learning environment going forward. There were dual enrollment requirements that needed to be satisfied and it was essential that the district address summer program offerings so to best manage the learning gap.

Schutte closed by providing a glimpse into the challenges standing in the way to the return to a more familiar classroom experience.

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