The Ottawa school district has a plan for students to return to full time in-person classes in the near future.


The school board approved the plan Monday to open schools full time beginning either Oct. 19 or Oct. 26 for Pre-K through fifth grade students.


"We are working through which of those dates is best suited for a return and will make that decision by next week," Ottawa Superintendent Dr. Ryan Cobbs said. "We are continuing to monitor data in our schools, city, and county with regard to COVID-19. Please know that if it is not possible for our schools to continue to provide a safe environment we will re-evaluate our position and move those dates backward until we can return full time as safely as possible.


"The Board of Education is set to meet again on Oct. 12 to evaluate that data and specify the reopen date whether Oct. 19/26 or later for our elementary schools."


Cobbs said middle school and high school students would return full time on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9, respectively, when the second quarter begins.


"We wanted to get information out to [patrons] so you can begin to prepare for such a change," Cobbs said. "This week, we are asking [parents] to let us know your intention on either attending remotely or in-person. We recognize that there are still many questions left unanswered, however, our ability to create a safe classroom environment is improved by our knowledge of numbers of students continuing in each learning model."


Questionnaires were sent to parents regarding their choice earlier this week.


"Your participation will help us immensely in developing quality environments for our students," Cobbs said. "It is vital for the education of our students to have them return to school full time whether that is remotely or in-person. Having access to a full day of instruction is incredibly important for the development of our students and their long term academic success."


Cobbs said these plans were created after a lot of thought and conversation.


"These conversations have not come easily and have always centered on making sure that we do what is best for our students and staff," he said. "We will continue to keep you updated as decisions are made and information comes to us. As always, thank you for your patience and support as we navigate these roads together."


Students have been attending school remotely or in-person in two groups for three hours per day since Sept. 9.