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School Closure Parent Communication 3/16/20
Darren Hanna
Monday, March 16, 2020

Darren D. Hanna

Superintendent of Schools

Emmetsburg Community School District

dhanna@e-hawks.org

Office  (712) 852-3201

Last evening (3/15/20) Governor Reynolds recommended Iowa Schools close for a period of four weeks due to the existence of substantial community spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  At this point, we do not have a confirmed case or evidence of community spread in Emmetsburg. However, the safety of our students, staff, and families is our first priority. As such, we implemented the Governor’s recommendation and closed schools in the Emmetsburg Community School District beginning today (3/16/20) and will remain closed until guidance is given to reopen.  Please make an initial family plan for returning to school on Monday, April 13, 2020.

Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of Breath 

What can parents and families do to limit their exposure and mitigate the transfer of COVID-19

While COVID-19 is spread person to person, more than 80% of the patients who develop it will only become mildly ill. The concern is for those with underlying medical conditions and the elderly, who are more likely to need hospital-level, supportive care. There are things you can do to keep the risk of COVID-19, or any respiratory illness, to a minimum:

Practice hand hygiene all the time. (It’s crucial.) Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is an effective alternative. Both should be done frequently.

Avoid any hand to eye, hand to nose, or hand to mouth contact.

Be considerate when you are sick. Stay home if you are feeling ill. You should be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to work. Cover coughs and sneezes using the crook of your arm (inside elbow).

Practice the 6-foot rule. If you must be in a public space and notice someone ill, keep that distance to lessen your risk.

Get appropriate rest, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly in order to maintain a healthy immune system. 

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, tightness in the chest or shortness of breath, call your health care provider before going to the clinic or hospital and wear a mask.

What actions is the school taking

Distance Learning:  

  • The New Guidance that came out from the DE concerning online opportunities is completely opposite of the guidance that was given just a few days. It states that we cannot require student participation and we can offer online options, but it does not count as school hours.  The Governor is asking the legislature to forgive days/hours missed during this crisis. Given the new guidance, we will not be offering Distance Learning.  

Staff

  • We will utilize this week to disinfect buildings.  Only essential staff in the buildings this week. The Admin Team will meet to put together a professional development plan for staff that can be implemented starting next week and through the rest of the closure.   We will make the most of the time to accomplish professional learning and curriculum work that needs to be done. We also look at options for Para Professionals.  

 Community Access to Facilities

  • Effective immediately,  parents, students and the general public will not have access to buildings and facilities.  No school events will take place outside of school buildings or grounds. We are notifying community facilities signed up to utilize District facilities of this today.  

Meals Available

  • Beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020 ECSD will provide brown bag cold breakfast and lunch combos free of charge to families.  We will set up an in-vehicle grab and go lane utilizing the MS drop-off/pick-up lane on the East side of the HS/MS. Please utilize the following form to let us know if you will be participating and how many breakfast and lunches combos you will need.  This form will allow to better plan for the number of breakfast/lunches that needed. The hours of operation will be 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Thursday and Friday, March 19th and 20th and then Monday through Friday thereafter. If pick-up is an issue please contact your building administrator.

ECSD Request for Free Child(ren) Meal Pick-Up During Coronavirus School Closure

Will we be making up days missed

  • The Governor in her press conference today stated that she would be asking the legislature to forgive the hours/days missed for this crisis.    

DE Guidance on Graduation

  • If districts and nonpublic schools have graduating seniors who are unable to complete their classes for the year due to school closure, illness, family illness, or related COVID-19 issues, the Department suggests the district use local discretion to determine whether the students have completed sufficient course content to consider the units complete. We recommend that districts provide as much latitude for students to graduate on time as possible.

Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities

  • Guidance from IHSMA, IHSSA, IGHSAU, IHSAA SPRING ACTIVITIES and CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19).  School closures suspend Iowa high school spring activities. Following Sunday’s announcements from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, all spring activities of Iowa’s high school Unified Activities partners – the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa High School Music Association, and the Iowa High School Speech Association – will be prohibited through the state’s K-12 school recommended closure of four weeks. Gov. Reynolds announced the recommended closure in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health, in response to community spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa.  This recommended closure date currently extends through Friday, April 10 and would mean a school return of April 13. Prior to April 10, the schedule will be assessed as necessary with information from the Governor, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, and activity partners at the IGHSAU, IHSAA, IHSMA, and IHSSA.

Please continue to check www.e-hawks.org for further information.

Thank you for your understanding and patience through these unique challenges for our School and Community.  

Darren D Hanna

Superintendent Emmetsburg Community School District