(641) 637-4187 2163 135th Street, New Sharon, IA 50207

The following Health and Safety guidelines are subject to change based on guidance from IDPH, Mahaska County Public Health, DE and CDC.

Updated: 7/1/20


When will schools reopen?

Beginning July 1, school districts and accredited nonpublic schools may begin offering all school activities. School starts on August 26th and will be in session from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

When will concession stands reopen?

Schools must also adhere to the Department of Inspection and Appeals (DIA) School Concession Stand Guidance. We are waiting for further guidance at this time.

When will schools reopen?

Beginning July 1, school districts and accredited nonpublic schools may begin offering all school activities.
School starts on August 26th and will be in session from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

When will concession stands reopen?

Schools must also adhere to the Department of Inspection and Appeals (DIA) School Concession Stand Guidance. We are waiting for further guidance at this time.


The on-site instructional classroom during COVID will look very similar to classroom instruction prior to COVID with some common-sense precautions.

Are face coverings required for students?

Requiring face coverings for students is not recommended by the guidance provided from the Iowa Department of Education (June 24, 2020). Although not required, it is highly recommended students wear face coverings when possible. Especially in areas where social distancing is not possible (ie: hallways, larger classes, school transportation). It is the responsibility of the individual and/or parent to provide a mask and to consider whether this is an appropriate practice for your child considering their health, age, and the environmental factors (ie: temperature, humidity, etc). School staff will teach and reinforce the prevention of stigma associated with the use or non-use of facial coverings to support a respectful, inclusive, and supportive school environment.

Are face coverings required for staff?

No. Unless you are at risk and wish to protect yourself further, a mask is not required while teaching. Face Shields will be provided for those staff members requesting one.

Will PPE be provided to staff?

PPE will be provided to staff members as needed to allow them to complete their job. Each staff person provides a valuable service to our district which can only be fulfilled when the employee is present. If an employee displays symptoms, they need to stay home and inform their supervisor. Staff members need to share concerns with their direct supervisor. We will teach and reinforce the prevention of stigma associated with the school personnel’s use of PPE to support a respectful, inclusive, and supportive work environment.

Will social distancing be required?

Schools may not be able to guarantee that physical distancing can be met in all school settings throughout the entire school day, during school activities, or with transportation. This is similar to when children congregate in their community. NM Schools will implement preventative health changes that can be sustainable and done with fidelity (examples: have a plan if a student or staff member becomes sick; educate and encourage students and staff on a range of preventative health practices to reduce risks associated with communicable disease spread, and use the emergency operations plan for communicable disease outbreaks).

Social distancing should be practiced when possible. This may mean less carpet time for younger students. Tables that allow students to face one another are to be avoided. Individual desks should face the same direction.

Do we shorten the day or alter schedules to eliminate non-academic times?

No. We will maintain existing schedules.

What training will students need in the safe handling of materials?

Our goal is to minimize the use of shared materials. When using shared materials, increased cleaning will need to happen preferably between users. Teachers will be responsible for knowing which materials need to be shared thus cleaned more often.

Common Areas

Common areas such as the lunchroom, playground, hallways or waiting areas can be challenging as they contain large numbers of students. Attempts to disperse large groups of students waiting for more than 15 minutes are recommended.

How will lunch be handled?

The Elementary and Jr/Sr High buildings will decide if there is a way to reduce the number of students who may be eating in the cafeterias at the same time. This could include eating in classrooms or outside or modifying the lunchroom schedule. The use of hand sanitizer or hand washing before lunch is recommended.

Where will students wait before school starts?

Elementary: Students who wait in the commons area before school should spread out as much as possible. Students could be released down to classrooms early if supervision permits.
Jr/Sr High: Students who wait in the cafeteria and auditorium should spread out as much as possible.
*Note: With current construction projects underway, students who park in the North parking lot will be asked to enter the building through the West door (facing the softball/baseball fields) and go directly to the auditorium until the bell rings in the morning.

Do we need to alter schedules and passing times to reduce people in the hallways?

No. Be mindful of others in your area of the building. The short duration of our passing times is under the “6 feet for 15 minutes” guideline. We do highly recommend that students and staff wear face coverings during passing times and anytime they are within 6 feet of another individual.

Can students have outside recess?

Yes, outside recess is encouraged and will continue as normal. 

What about assemblies or field trips?

Trips or assemblies are to be limited during this time as it increases levels of exposure due to outside influences and/or large groups of people in one place.

Will students share lockers?

Yes, jr./sr. high students will share a locker as they have in the past. Again, it is recommended that students wear face coverings when visiting their lockers.

Cleaning & Sanitization

What steps will be taken regarding cleaning?

It is the responsibility of all NM staff to ensure surfaces are disinfected properly. Buses, classrooms, restrooms, and other high contact areas will be thoroughly cleaned each day following the recommended guidelines from the CDC. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned multiple times throughout the day by custodial staff. Classroom desks and shared materials will be cleaned by teachers once a day in addition to regular cleaning by custodians.

Health & Safety

If I am ill, what should I do?

Consistent with IDPH guidance and school policies, staff, or students who are ill should stay home. Staff members or students who become ill at school, should notify the nurse immediately and go home. A strict policy of exclusion will be enforced for students who are ill or who present with illness during the day.

Will students and staff be screened prior to entering school?

No. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that schools screen students and staff upon entering the building. One symptom is not necessarily indicative of communicable disease. Some individuals may be ill and have no symptoms. It is expected that parents complete a health screening of their child (inclusive of a temperature check and screen for visible signs of illness) at home before sending their child to school.

How will we support staff members with a compromised immune system?

High-risk staff members would consult with their doctors for guidance on working in a child-centered environment. Staff members with identified risks will be supported with PPE and other doctor advised accommodations.

What will be our expectation for parents when there is a concern about a student’s health?

Parents should follow normal procedures when communicating a health concern for their child – contact the school office or school nurse.

How will we support students who have identified chronic health needs that present higher risk?

The school nurse will communicate with families of high-risk students. If it is determined that the risk is too high to attend on-site, online learning will be made available to the student.

Who or what will determine when a student can return after they have been sick?

We will follow the public health guidelines for when a student may return to school. The school nurse will be in charge of communicating this information to families.

What is being recommended for Iowa Schools in efforts to prevent the spread of illness?

Teach and reinforce washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds following CDC guidance on when and how to wash your hands. If soap and water are not readily available, teach and reinforce use of a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (if applicable or age-appropriate) using CDC guidance. Hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom, in all restrooms, and in the cafeterias.

How will preventative health and safety measures be communicated?

Signs from the CDC and IDPH websites on how to stop the spread of illness, proper wash handing, and promoting everyday protective measures will be posted.

What happens in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school?

The school will consult directly with the Mahaska County Department of Public Health and follow the recommended guidelines.

What mitigation measures will be added?

PPE will be allowed as desired, social distancing will be practiced when possible, and shared materials will be minimized.


The current guidelines from the CDC suggest allowing only 13 students on a bus designed to carry 77 passengers. This is not feasible for our district to sustain. Buses will run their regular route during on-site instruction and will utilize common-sense precautions. These precautions apply to all modes of district transportation.

Will riders have to wear masks?

Bus riders and drivers may wear masks if they feel safer when riding but are not required. It is recommended that students and staff use face coverings in instances where the vehicle is over 50% capacity.

Will the district vehicles be cleaned?

District vehicles will be cleaned at the end of each route (am & pm). Activity vehicles will be cleaned upon returning to the district. It is the responsibility of the driver and/or sponsor/coach (after activities) to ensure proper cleaning of the vehicle is completed.

What about social distancing on district transportation?

When a smaller number of students are on the bus, social distancing will be possible. With a full bus, it is recommended that students wear a mask as an extra precaution.

Are there other safety procedures on the bus?

The seat directly behind the driver should remain open to provide some safety for the driver. Some windows will be open (weather permitting) to create increased air flow during the bus ride.