I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well. We need to take the spread of COVID-19 cases in Iowa seriously.  Everything I have read, watched, or listened to, points to the fact that this virus has the ability to overwhelm our health system.  Our efforts need to focus on how to manage the spread of the disease to we can manage the impact on our healthcare system. It is evident from other countries, that not taking prudent steps to manage the spread of the virus, has dire consequences, especially for the most vulnerable in our community.  

If you can stay home.  It may not be you that is impacted, but someone you love.  In addition, give thought to our healthcare workers and others in essential businesses who must go to work.  Let’s all pull together to do our best to discipline ourselves to help them.  

I received the following from a staff member:

I'm starting to hear that our students are out and about... a lot!!  They are hanging out in groups of 8-10+. I don't think they understand the severity of the situation.   I'm not sure they are listening to their parents.  

When you talking as a family please emphasize the need for social distancing.  Accelerating Community Spread of the virus may not have dire consequences for your teenagers and adult children individually, but it most certainly could for those they love.  The following video was shared with me by the staff member mentioned above. If you have teenagers and older children, it is a must-watch.

School Closure

Many, including myself, have questions and concerns about what comes next for schools.  The Governor closed school for an initial period of four weeks from March 16th through April 10th.   If the Governor reopens schools on April 13th we will resume classes on that day. If the Governor extends the closure or moves to close schools for the remainder of the year, we will begin delivering Continuous Learning Opportunities for our students.  We will utilize the week of April 6-10 to prepare for the direction we are given.  

This crisis has been extremely fluid.  Direction can change very quickly. Most of what I know comes from the Governor’s daily briefing.  We are receiving some guidance from the DE, but it more likely that any indication on where we are going with the school closure will come directly from the Governor.  As soon as I know, you will know. We received no advanced notice of the school closure. I am hoping that is not the case this time.  

Internet Access

Thanks to all the staff for reaching out to your students and checking in on them.  We are asking them to do so weekly. In addition, the information staff gathered on devices at home and internet access at home will be crucial in implementing Continuous Learning Opportunities.  The DE has formed a task force to give schools guidance on this. I have reached out to both local internet providers and legislators to discuss options that we would have in ensuring all students would have access during the closure.  I will continue to update you on my progress on this.  

Student Personal Items

The Administration Team has a plan for students at West and HS/MS to retrieve their personal belongings.  No decision will be made this until we know if we are coming back on April 13th or the closure is extended.  

If we reopening on April 13th, we will not be implementing the plan.  Students will have access to their personal items when they return to school on the 13th.  Arrangements have already been made for students in Drivers Education and College Credit Courses 

If the school closure is extended or schools are closed for the year, we will implement the plan for students to retrieve personal items.  In addition, we will ensure that students who need devices will be able to get them. This included grades 3-12.  


ECSD continues to serve by providing breakfast and lunch grab and go meals to the children of our community.  In addition, we have bus drivers delivering on their country routes and to daycare centers. Yesterday we provided 340 breakfast bags and 340 lunch bags.  We will continue the program M-F 7:30-9:00 a.m. until at least Friday, April 10, 2020.

Grab and Go Meal Pick-Up Procedures

  • Please enter the South Parking Lot Driveway and proceed North down the circle drive to the Middle School Entrance.

  • Let us know how many meals by holding up the correct number of fingers.  

  • We will deposit the lunches in the bin on the table by the steps.  Please remain in your vehicle.

  • Once the worker has gone back to the building, exit your vehicle and grab your meals.

  • Exit onto King St. from the Circle Drive. 

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

Darren D Hanna

Superintendent Emmetsburg Community School District