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URBANDALE, Iowa — Several parents within the Urbandale Community School District believe the hybrid learning model has not been helpful for their kids. They are now planning an organized demonstration to demand full-time, in-person learning. 

“We’re not opposed to 100% virtual. We understand that every family has different needs, and we totally respect that,” said parent Sarah Yager. “We are just asking for our community and our school district to think outside the box.”

Pam Gronau is a mother of three children. She said one of her kids lives with autism. Gronau believes that the hybrid model is not serving her child. 

“It’s very hard for him to stay focused. Now, as I said, he does get some in-person time. And I’m very thankful that they have been able to give that to my son, but I’m also here to advocate for all of those kiddos who are not getting that out there,” said Gronau.

Yager’s son, Kaden Yager, is a seventh grader. He misses seeing his friends at school. The middle schooler also believes he would learn better with a teacher by his side. 

“Going back to school full time would be easier because the teachers could be more helpful,” Kaden said.

In a statement, the district wrote:

“Urbandale Community School District is responsible for creating a safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff. This is a responsibility we take seriously which is why an immense amount of work is taking place to determine logistics for the possibility of bringing students back to school full time. We will also be sending a survey this week to our families and staff requesting their current preferences for an instructional delivery model.

Although seeking feedback and preparing for students to return to school full time are significant parts of this process, ensuring that we can do so in a way that takes into consideration our district’s and community’s health status is equally important. We welcome families, staff, and community members to learn more about important COVID-19 health and safety metrics by viewing the October 26 School Board meeting on our District YouTube Channel.

As findings shared during the October 26 Board meeting may impact our current metric guidance, it is critically important for these discussions to take place in a public School Board meeting, and not in a parking lot outside our District Administrative Office, so that all stakeholders are able to view, or participate via public comment, the full dialogue. Any decisions that occur are made in full transparency during our public-School Board meetings. The district will then take all information into consideration when providing an instructional delivery model recommendation to the School Board during the November 9 Board meeting.”

The parents said their organized demonstration is not meant to cause a stir but to create a dialogue with the district.

“Mr. Bass, he’s the superintendent of schools at Urbandale, and we’ve invited him to join us,” said parent Pam Dykstra, a mother of two. “I think as parents we just want to come together and encourage each other and be sure that we have kind of a unified voice in what we’re looking to advocate for our kids.”

The demonstration will take place on Monday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. at the Urbandale Community School District’s administration office. 

On Monday, the district will also hold a virtual school board meeting at 6:30 p.m.