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Ankeny Parents Divided Over District’s Proposed Return to Learn Plan

Return To Learn

ANKENY, Iowa — The Ankeny School Board will vote Monday on its return to learn plan, choosing from two of the three models created by the Ankeny Community School District. According to the district’s website, it will recommend the board votes to approve the hybrid model, which aligns with recommendations made by the CDC.

An online petition started by Ankeny mother, Lydia Hornung, is calling for the board to do away with its hybrid model. Instead, Hornung says parents should be allowed to choose between sending their kids to school or not.

“So with that, we also feel as though a lot of people will choose the virtual option, leaving significantly less students choosing the in-person option, which would make the social distancing guidelines that are being set forth to the school district in the board a lot easier to accomplish,” said Hornung.

The petition has about 1,700 signatures from district parents, but Aubrey Alvarex is calling on parents to side with the school district’s recommendation, saying she believes the district has the students’ best interest and health at heart.

“I think that the hybrid option is really the best option there just because it does allow for some in-person interaction, while also doing what they can to keep everybody safe. It’s six weeks, I think it’s a good chance for us to at least get started,” said Alvarez.

Hornung says six weeks of hybrid learning won’t work for some families who can’t work from home and is concerned that children who attend day care as a result could potentially expose children at school to other outside factors.

“Reality is, this option is going to force parents to choose between going to work or educating their families,” said Hornung.

Alvarez says she is hoping parents will trust the science behind the district’s recommendations, which says they have been working closely with its county health department to make the safest recommendation for returning to school.

“I trust that they also want to get back there as quickly as possible. I don’t think they all want to be in the situation either, but they’re trying to make the best out of it and do what’s best for a majority of the people in this community,” said Alvarez.

The Ankeny School Board meeting takes place virtually Monday at 5 p.m. Hornung says she plans to ask the board to delay its vote one week so that it can survey district parents to get a clearer view on what parents want for their children. 

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