Dear Parents and Community Members:
North Mahaska Schools Closed Through April 13
As a school district, we have been closely monitoring the news and best practices regarding the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). At the direction of Governor Kim Reynolds, recommending schools in Iowa must close for four weeks, North Mahaska Schools will be closed through April 13. (We already had April 13 designated as a no school day.) This closure will take effect immediately.
Some of you may wonder why close if this is a “recommendation”. We just finished a live Zoom session with Governor, Kim Reynolds, the Iowa Department of Education and the Department of Human Services where they explained that the word “recommendation” was used to give schools a day to get things in order rather than issue an immediate closure. They clearly defined the intent as schools must close for 4 weeks in efforts to help mitigate community spread.
The closure affects all school programming, including before- and after-school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, and all events for the next four weeks. There is additional information posted on the school website from the Iowa High School Athletic Association, Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union, Iowa High School Music Association, and the Iowa High School Speech Association. All four associations prohibit teacher/administrator/ coach contact with participants for the duration of the prohibited period.
During the School Closure District teachers will be sending home newsletters via email and the school website with learning resources for students to take advantage of during this time. While the engagement in the learning resources is not required, it is highly recommended. We encourage your student to take advantage of reading during this time as well.
School Briefly Open
The school will be open briefly on Wednesday, March 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 for students and staff to pick up any items they may need. Please enter through the main office in the jr./sr. high and limit your time in the building to 5 to 10 minutes. The school will remain inaccessible to students and staff from noon on March 18 throughout the duration of the closure.
Food Service Provided
We are actively preparing to continue with school lunch services beginning on March 20. The plan is for the lunches to be delivered to various site locations to be determined. Parents requesting breakfast or lunch for their children must sign up through the Google Form link on the school website (to be uploaded in the coming days). More details on school lunch will be provided in the coming days.
The coronavirus is thought to be spread via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. As with controlling the spread of other viruses, we urge you to speak to your child about the following prevention measures:
• Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Using soap and hot water, wash for about 20 seconds. Be sure to also wash your fingertips.
• Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your arm.
• As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
• Practice Social Distancing
• Stay home if you are ill
• Limit all nonessential travel
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the regular seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing. Some people with coronavirus have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some situations, the virus can develop into pneumonia.
Individuals who need medical care should call their medical providers to report their illness prior to seeking care at a clinic, physician’s office, or hospital.
Parents of students exhibiting flu-like symptoms or staff exhibiting flu-like symptoms are asked to contact the County Health Department.
Changing Information and Keeping You Informed
We know information and guidance changes with this virus very quickly. We will keep you up to date with any changing information via school through our school website and mass texting through SwiftAlert. Should they change the recommendation for the closure before April 13, we will communicate the information quickly and plan accordingly. We would love nothing more than to have students back in school as quickly as possible.
Better Days Ahead
Please know that my heart is with you. I know the days ahead may be challenging for you and your family. We will do our absolute best to rise to the occasion and try to assist you in finding solutions going forward. May we all lean on each other in the days ahead and enjoy the extra time with family.
North Mahaska Schools