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Update on COVID-19 (3/10/20)

We understand the growing concern about Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) as it has now become present in our community.  It is a concern we all share.  With the start of Spring Break only a few days away, there have been questions raised about travel and what impact it may have on the spread of the virus. We know many of our students, families, and staff have planned trips out of state or even out of the country. 

At the time of this letter, there are four countries around the world which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified with a Level 3 Travel Notice, meaning widespread or ongoing transmission of COVID-19.  Those countries are China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that anyone who visits these countries voluntarily self-isolates for 14 days upon their return.

The District expects any employee who visits an area that the CDC has identified as high risk for COVID-19 to follow public health recommendations. If you are an employee who has visited, or plans to visit, one of the above-identified nations, please contact Interim Director of Human Resources, Nick Proud, to determine the most up-to-date guidance for the re-entry to school process.  

Families who plan to travel to any of these areas should notify their school to make arrangements for the student’s re-entry to school. In addition, families who visit any destination the CDC has identified as high risk for COVID-19 should follow its public health recommendations.

As a district, we are operating in a state of preparedness.  We are actively researching options for online instruction in the event of a school or District closure and will be sharing that information with staff and families as it becomes available.  Such a decision will not be made lightly and the District will seek specific guidance from Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) before making any decisions regarding closing schools.

We are currently focusing on the areas of facilities and custodial services, nutrition services, and transportation to minimize the potential exposure of the virus within our schools.  We are continuously working to remind students and staff to practice the standard precautions for combating illness, including covering your cough/sneeze, washing hands with soap and water, disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, and staying home when you are sick.  Our buildings will undergo thorough cleanings over the week of Spring Break.

In addition, the frequency of cleaning schedules for school buses has been increased and changes have been made within our Nutrition Services department.  Our Nutrition Services staff will begin entering student ID numbers for all students during lunch, rather than the students entering the number themselves, to reduce the contact with common surfaces.  After Spring Break, all food will be pre-portioned for student grab-and-go to temporarily eliminate the student self-serve process.

For additional information on the process the District is following, please review the District’s Pandemic or Infectious Disease Plan located on the District website.

While there are many legitimate concerns about COVID-19, being well-informed and taking precautionary steps can keep us healthy and safe.  We will continue to provide updates to families and staff as information becomes available.