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March 15 Update

posted Mar 15, 2020, 12:42 PM by Exira-EHK Administrator
Good afternoon: Parents, Guardians, Students, and Community Members,

As I am sure some of you are aware Governor Reynolds held a press conference on Saturday night to update COVID-19 and how now it is community spread. We will be limiting outside visitors to our district for the time being until we have a better grasp of exactly what is happening in our area.

As I am trying to keep up with all of the information, I wanted to provide an update on some of our school activities:

1)The Washington DC​ ​trip has been postponed. We are working with WorldStrides, the travel company, to find possible make up dates and options. I will have separate communication to all parents/students that this affects on Monday. We will not have the parent meeting on Monday. Please watch for separate communication on this.

2)Parent teacher conferences: Our teachers will be available ONLY by phone or email from 4:30-7:30 on Monday and Thursday evenings. The teachers will send information home with your students and will call parents during their scheduled times. IEP meetings will also take place on the phone. High School/Middle School Teachers will coordinate times with each other to call parents of students they feel need to be contacted.

a.We want to continue to provide this vital opportunity for you to connect with your student’s teacher(s) as it really does take a village to raise a child. We also want to ensure that our students, staff, and all of our parents who participate in these conferences can do so safely.

3)Elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems are being urged to stay home or away from large gatherings or numbers of individuals. This affects some of our staff and I will be working on a plan for coverage as we need to do what is best for the safety and well-being of our staff and students.

4)Musical: I will be meeting with Mr. Parmley on Monday morning to look at options for our Musical. Today Atlantic canceled their Sunday Matinee after Governor Reynolds spoke last night.

5)Field Trips: As I said on Friday, all other field trips will be canceled and/or postponed for the foreseeable future.

6) KFCat the Elementary has been canceled

7)Only students, staff, and those approved by administration will be allowed access to the buildings during the school day.Until further notice, no visitors will be

allowed into shared spaces during the school day, including cafeterias and classrooms. This includes volunteers, mentors, and all non-approved visitors.
If you need to meet with or talk to a teacher or administrator, we encourage you to contact the school and set up a time to meet. Parents who come to pick up or drop off their child will be restricted to the office area
.

Listed below is the updated information from the Iowa Department of Public Health from Saturday evening.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Trevor Miller

Superintendent

COVID-19 community spread confirmed in Iowa, state agencies take additional measures to limit spread and assist Iowans

DES MOINES - The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of one additional positive case of an Iowan with COVID-19, for a total of 18 positive cases. The individual is an older adult age 61-80, and a resident of Dallas County.
Additionally, IDPH has determined, based on the new COVID-19 case and the announcement this evening of community spread in Omaha, Neb., there is now community spread in our state. Community spread occurs when individuals have been infected with the virus in an area and cannot specifically identify the source of the infection, or do not know how or where they became infected.

Due to the detection of community spread, there are new recommendations for individuals with underlying conditions, and all Iowans should be prepared for cancellations and disruptions in routine activities.
Mitigation measures should be implemented immediately to have the most significant impact on slowing the spread of the virus.

Leaders of institutions and organizers of events should begin to act on their contingency plans related to large gatherings, including church services. Iowans should not hold or attend large gatherings of more than 250 people and consider making adjustments for smaller gatherings with high risk groups.

Health care organizations should also review their contingency plans and consider how telehealth can support the needs of Iowans.
At this time, school closures are not recommended. Based on
CDC guidelines:

·If a school has a positive case in a student, faculty member or visitor, we recommend a short-term suspension of a few days for cleaning to mitigate spread of the virus.

·If there is significant absenteeism of staff and students, they should consider a short to medium length suspension of 2 to 4 weeks.
·For substantial community spread, longer suspensions of 4 to 8 weeks or more are recommended.

Iowans should do their part to protect their health and the health of others:

·Individuals older with underlying conditions should stay at home and avoid gatherings or other situations of potential exposures, including travel to affected areas.
·Consider personal social distancing measures: avoid large gatherings, limit the number of attendees per gathering.

·Consider working remotely or online learning when possible.
·Encourage staff to telework (when feasible), particularly individuals at increased risk of severe illness.
·Limit non-essential work travel and gatherings.
·Follow CDC guidance regarding school closures if a school-based case is identified, implement short term suspension for school cleaning and contact tracing, and alter schedules to reduce student mixing. Cancel extracurricular activities as needed.

A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa provided by IDPH can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.
State agencies are taking the following steps:

Similarly, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) suspended all in-person visitation for their six state-run facilities to prevent risk to the individuals served and to mitigate against community-spread. The Department will consider limited exceptions and is offering virtual options to allow continued communication with loved ones.

In addition, DHS is putting policies in place to ensure access to childcare during this time, including financial and operational assistance. These include paying child care providers based on enrollment rather than attendance and expediting licensing to enable increasing capacity. Childcare inspection and regulatory functions will shift to provide technical assistance focused on hygiene and sanitation. DHS also recognizes the stress that emergency events cause children and families and are developing strategies to identify and address their needs.
Iowans can help prevent the spread of illness by following simple daily precautions including washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and IDPH recommends getting the flu vaccine. Influenza activity is widespread in Iowa and as long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to receive the vaccine. 

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