March 12, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian: 

We understand that the Novel Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, is causing much anxiety in our community, state, and the world. Emmetsburg Community School District is working closely with Palo Alto County Public Health, Palo Alto County Hospital, and monitoring the Iowa Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.  We are reviewing all trips and travel and will make decisions on the latest information available from the sources named above.  We will utilize our website, social media, and email to keep parents and the community informed. ECSD will also keep the latest resources and links posted on the school’s website.  


  • The virus causing COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified and causes a respiratory illness ranging from a mild cold-like illness to severe respiratory disease. 

  • Similar to influenza, the people who are most likely to have severe disease and complications from COVID-19 are believed to be the very old, very young and those with other chronic or underlying medical conditions. 

  • There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for COVID-19, so prevention is very important. 

  • Experts predict there will eventually be community spread. IDPH, Palo Alto County Public Health, Palo Alto Community Hospital, and Emmetsburg Community School District are preparing for when/if this happens.


  • COVID-19 is believed to spread primarily the same way the common cold or flu spreads-through respiratory droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes. 

  • People who are most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those who have been in close contact (within about 6 feet) with someone who has the disease. 

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). 


  • Keep children home when they are sick. 

    • Students (and parents/guardians) who are ill, especially with acute respiratory symptoms (not allergies or chronic conditions), should stay home. 

  • Teach your children to always cover their cough and sneezes with a tissue or elbow

  • Remind them to wash their hands with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer) after they touch their face, use the restroom and before they eat. 

  • Tell children to avoid touching their mouths and nose since that is how germs get into the body. 

  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (everyday household disinfectants are fine). 

    • Enhance cleaning of high touch surfaces like doorknobs, toilet handles and sink handles. 

  • Plan for when community spread occurs. 

    • Ensure you have a plan to designate a caregiver, such as a family member or neighbor, for a sick child(ren) if you can't stay home and schools are closed. 


Darren D. Hanna