Update on COVID-19 (3/11/20)
As you are likely aware, the University of Iowa announced their plan to suspend face-to-face instruction for two weeks following Spring Break due to Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). This announcement has generated a great deal of questions specific to our District. We have been closely working with and following the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Johnson County Public Health (JCPH). Based on the input from these two organizations, there have been no recommendations to change current operational practices or close schools at this time.
We plan to make an announcement by Thursday, March 19 regarding the plan for school after Spring Break. At this time, and based on the recommendations from the IDPH and JCPH, students should plan to resume classes on March 23; however, we encourage families to review their plans now should a decision be made to close schools.
The decision to close schools will not be made lightly and we will seek specific guidance from IDPH, JCPH, the Iowa Department of Education, and the Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors before making any decisions. Significant research and preparation have taken place regarding our options in the event of an extended school closure. There are many factors to be considered any time a decision is made to close schools. These factors range from evaluating the consequences of missed instruction to providing meals to students who rely on the school’s food service program.
Parents always have the right to keep their children at home if they feel it is in the best interest of their student’s health. All absences related to COVID-19 are excused. At this time, unless there is a school closure, the normal process for making up school work due to absences applies.
District officials are taking part in daily on-site briefings at the Johnson County Emergency Operations Center. The briefings include representatives from IDPH, JCPH, Johnson County Emergency Management, local healthcare providers, emergency personnel, as well as officials from other local and state-level government agencies.
Officials announced an additional five presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Johnson County. This brings the total to 13 cases in Iowa, 12 specifically in Johnson County. The new cases were all individuals who were on an overseas cruise to Egypt.
To reiterate, we will make an announcement by Thursday, March 19 regarding any plans for school not resuming as scheduled after Spring Break. We appreciate your patience and your partnership as we work through this difficult situation.