March 10, 2021
As Covid-19 numbers over the past couple of months declined to the point of having few or no cases at school, I discontinued providing an update. Unfortunately numbers at school have begun to creep up again as county numbers have increased to the current 7% positivity rate.
Students/staff currently isolating/quarantining of total number of 900 students/staff (estimated): 19
Percentage of Active Students and Staff Currently Who Tested Positive Compared to Estimated Total Student/Staff Population: less than .6%
Percentage of Students and Staff Quarantined Compared to Estimated Total Student/Staff Population: 2.1%
7% – Current Sac County Positivity Rate March 10, 2021
My personal observation about precautions related to Covid-19 is more people are becoming frustrated by the continued use of face coverings. While the governor has relaxed some requirements related to Covid-19, school districts still must follow contact tracing, if a positive case of Covid-19 impacts school. If both parties are wearing a mask or gaiter properly, it reduces the need to quarantine. It is extremely important to stay home, if experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and follow safety practices. Each building is attempting to expand more openness, but it is important for students and staff to continue to properly use face masks when social distancing is not feasible. The positivity rate is Sac County has grown approximately 5% over the past two weeks.
Disclaimer: The information set forth above is for informational purposes only. This information is based on reports to the District from other sources which have not been independently verified.
As the Sac County positivity rate has risen above 18% and the number of students who currently are under quarantine because of contact tracing exceeds 80 students, I am providing updated communication on action steps to address these impacts on the ESC Community School District. As a district the number of positive active cases for students/staff is approximately 1%. The impact of not having sufficient numbers of staff to cover all vacancies is impacting learning and the social emotional needs for students and staff. In addition, approximately 15 students/staff are currently waiting for test results for COVID-19. Please understand these are extremely difficult times for the counties and for local school districts. Your cooperation and grace will be expected as we work to find solutions that continue to allow the district to meet educational needs for all students. Below you will find some guidelines with implementation dates:
Face Coverings – Staff were expected to wear some form of face covering when unable to social distance, 6 feet for 15 minutes beginning on Tuesday, September 22. Face coverings for students will be expected beginning on Monday, September 28. Currently in Iowa the use of face coverings does not prevent contact tracing, but it is a tool to help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. While I do not like taking away choice on the use of face coverings, it is a step the district will implement and reevaluate again once the positivity rate declines and/or the number of students under quarantine is more manageable.. Face coverings are available for students and will continue to be made available by the district and local organizations. Each building will develop expectations to share with students when and where face coverings are expected.
Exposed – Staff members are considered critical workers who can continue to work under the following conditions: monitor temperatures, monitor symptoms, must wear face covering, and immediately notify their supervisor if symptoms develop. Currently in Iowa, this is not an option for students. Until alternate information is provided to school districts, contact tracing will continue. Once someone has been identified as positive by public health, building principals in conjunction with staff, will work with public health to develop who met the guidelines for close contact and must be quarantined.
Activities – We will try again at the home VB game this week to allow fans to attend with the understanding face coverings are required. If this requirement is not followed, the district will consider limiting spectators at indoor activities. If social distancing guidelines are not followed, this may impact attendance at other activities also. Social distancing is a positive practice to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Fans should sit in alternate rows when possible and available to allow for increased social distancing.
Modified Schedule – I realize this notice is short, but steps need to be taken immediately. With so many students currently under quarantine and the difficulty of finding substitutes, the district will begin to use an hour early-out schedule starting on Thursday, September 24. This modified schedule will operate at a minimum of one week until October 1. Staff members need time to work with students who are being quarantined because of contact tracing. If numbers change drastically, alternate options will continue to be explored sooner rather than later. If the positivity rate remains high and contact tracing continues to negatively impact the district, a hybrid option is developed that would increase the ability to provide greater social distancing while allowing school to have a face to face component. In the district’s Return to Learn plan, the last option to consider for a district is to move to an online learning model. This requires an application to be approved by the Dept. of Education for two-week intervals. If a school district moves to an online system of learning, all extra-curricular activities are terminated during this time of online learning.
Practices – During the use of the modified schedule, activity practices will begin at the dismissal time of school; coaches will complete their teaching responsibilities after practice.
Pre-School – The elementary is working on the development to modify PS schedules in an effort to continue afternoon PS education continues.
The numbers in Sac County have changed drastically over the past week and are continually monitored. I understand this is an inconvenience for everyone and can cause frustration in adjusting to a new schedule, but it is a necessary step that hopefully allows for continued face to face instruction in some form and fashion. The seriousness of which learning model to use is being evaluated as systemically as possible. Each option has pros and cons but in the end decisions must be made in attempt to maximize teaching and learning.
Covid-19 has disrupted our nation, state, community, and most significantly, our lives. For the last several months, our communities have pulled together, adjusting to a new way of working, living–and for our students and families–learning.
I’d like to start by saying thanks. Our staff, families and community quickly adjusted to our “new normal” which required students to stay home and staff to make massive shifts in how they delivered instruction. I am incredibly proud of how we partnered to make it through the spring. Many families faced huge challenges during that time including coping with illness, financial hardships, and juggling a whole new set of demands. I’m not sure how we did it, but we did.
As we look toward the fall, your dedication, flexibility and determination will continue to be needed. The threat of Covid-19 will still be with us and some argue that fall may present even greater challenges. Because of this, East Sac County administration, in collaboration with key officials in health and safety, are working diligently to craft a plan that helps us to keep students and staff safe while educating students to the best of our ability. We don’t simply want to “survive” the fall, we want to thrive as a school community. Our plan will include the flexibility to move from face-to-face to online learning should the situation warrant including special training for our teachers so that these transitions are done in a quality way.
As we forge through the months ahead, we encourage our Raider family to remain flexible and innovative. Together, we will not just return to learn in the fall, but return to an even greater commitment to ensuring that our students are provided with the highest quality education we can possibly provide. Stay tuned for further details.
To: Parents, Guardians, Hosts, Caregivers
Fr: East Sac County Community School District
Re: Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities
East Sac County CSD is working with guidance from the Iowa Department of Education to develop a PK-12th grade voluntary educational enrichment plan. The goal of this plan is to give students the opportunity to continue with some aspects of learning during these unprecedented times. We realize that education is not the only priority facing East Sac County CSD families so we hope this opportunity gives the students a chance to continue to learn while at the same time balancing the daily challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Key Points of the Voluntary Educational Enrichment Program
- Students will receive the enrichment material either online, in packet form, through teleconferencing or a combination of several methods to deliver the material to students.
- Participating in this enrichment program is strictly voluntary. ESC realizes the impact COVID-19 is having on the daily lives of our students and parents. No grades or credit will be given as students submit their work. Teachers can provide feedback as they receive assignments.
- East Sac County CSD will take into consideration all aspects of poverty, students with disabilities, and students who do not speak English as their first language. Ensuring that all students have access to educational enrichment activities does not mean that each individual engages in an identical manner or even in identical activities.
- Many of the teachers have been sharing online resources since Governor Reynolds recommended schools close on Sunday, March 15th. With the outlook of a longer timeline out of school, we are now ready to add a more systematic way of delivering some additional learning options. Each teacher will create 2-3 lessons per week for the classes they are currently teaching.
How will my student get these enrichment activities?
Elementary: Elementary teachers will create packets that parents or students can pick up.
Middle School: Middle school teachers will post enrichment lessons on their Google Classrooms that students have been accessing throughout the year.
High School: High School teachers will post enrichment lessons every Wednesday during the month of April on Canvas so students can access the information.
Final Note: Schools across the nation are all facing the same challenges and we understand that not all students will be able to participate in this program. Please be assured that East Sac County will be prepared to educate your child(ren) when school resumes as normal whether it be in a month or next fall. East Sac County CSD will continue to inform students and parents as information is made available through the Iowa Department of Education.
March 17, 2020
CC’d: Parents, Hosts, Guardians, and Caregivers
Fr: East Sac County High School
Re: High School Information
Students of East Sac County High School:
East Sac County High School wants to make sure we continue to communicate with you as school plans continue to change because of the COVID-19 Virus.
Below is essential information:
3RD Quarter Grades
- The last time students had working lunch was Feb 20-26th. If a student has any overdue assignments between the start of the 3rd quarter, January 20th and February 26th, those grades will be assigned a zero.
- Students: Please check your JMC Grades for missing scores from February 27th to March 13th. We are asking students to make every effort to complete the assigned work by March 27th. Please contact your teacher if you have any questions.
- Students may upload videos to Canvas if they need to submit videos to teachers. They may also use Canvas or Email to submit assignments. DO NOT TRY TO SEND A VIDEO THROUGH EMAIL.
- Tests: Teachers may contact students with alternative methods for completing tests.
- Grades will be emailed OR mailed to parents on Friday, March 20th.
- ESC High School realizes these are extreme circumstances. We also realize internet is an issue for some students as well as other extenuating circumstances so we will make every attempt to work with the students to complete the assignments. Some students may receive an incomplete for the 3rd quarter. We will work with the student to complete the work when we return to school.
Prom is scheduled for April 18th. At this time we will NOT be postponing prom but obviously things may change as circumstances change. East Sac County High School has every intention of holding a Junior/Senior Prom at some point for the 2019-20 school year.
The High School Building
The High School Building will be open tomorrow (March 18th) from 7:50-3:25 for 9-12th grade students to get books and other personal belongings. If you have medications stored in the high school office Angela will be here to return those items to you. We will not allow a friend or some other acquaintance to pick up your meds for you. The student will need to pick them up or a parent, guardian, host, caregiver.
I hope I see everyone on April 14th. Stay Safe!!!
Kevin R. Litterer
High School Principal
March 15, 2020
COVID-19 Update (3/15/2020)
Because of the CDC recommendations, we have determined that these next steps would be appropriate at this time. If you have any questions, please direct questions to the administrative team at your respective district.
Steps to take to mitigate spread of germs (https://idph.iowa.gov/)
We all play a vital role in helping to prevent the spread of viruses. These steps may sound simple, but, according to the public health experts, they are tried-and-true measures for all of us to take:
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm or a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Steps we are looking to take at school:
Entering the Building
Increased use of hand sanitizer and/or wash hands.
The school will provide additional access to hand sanitizer as it becomes available.
Kids do not take their own tray and silverware.
Salad bar suspended or fresh fruit/veg served by staff with gloves..
Review proper handwashing procedures.
Schedule and monitor handwashing for all students (or use sanitizer).
Monitoring of Symptoms
Be more vigilant about fevers and coughs.
Isolate students who are ill and waiting to be picked up.
Require parents to pick students up within 30 minutes.
If your child is sick, running a fever, or not feeling well, please keep them home.
We are looking into options to better sanitize buses.
We will continue to be flexible as this situation is fluid and could change at any point and time. Thank you for your support and partnership as we work together to maintain a healthy learning environment.
Jeff Kruse, East Sac County Superintendent
March 13, 2020
In light of the Iowa Board of Regents announcement that all state universities will move toward online course work following spring break, the area school districts want to assure our families and communities that normal operations will continue for the foreseeable future.
While our overarching objective is to keep students and staff members safe, we also acknowledge that we have a social responsibility to ensure the continuity of education for our students. Our County Public Health Departments have asserted that the risk to students and staff is minimal at this time and they do not believe that the current situation warrants closing.
In the event that the Iowa Department of Public Health determines that there is a need for closure, or other action, our County Public Health Departments and school districts will coordinate to respond, and communicate additional information at that time.
As districts, we are working to be proactive and preventative, while operating in a state of preparedness. We are in constant communication with our County Public Health Departments, as well as the Iowa Department of Public Health. Moving forward, we will continue to partner with and follow the guidance of these agencies. For reference, the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus can be found via the Iowa Department of Public Health Coronavirus and the Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus.
The safety and well-being of our students and staff is always our top priority. We all have procedures in place as part ]of our district emergency operating plan[s] to handle situations regarding the spread of illness.
As stated before, to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, the CDC recommends the following actions:
Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Please feel free to communicate with your local school district if you have any specific questions.
Mr. Jeff Dicks, Newell-Fonda and Albert City-Truesdale- Superintendent
Mr. Bill Walters, Alta-Aurelia Superintendent
Mr. Jon Wiebers, Galva-Holstein and Schaller-Crestland Superintendent
Mr. Scott Williamson, Sioux Central, Laurens Marathon, and Clay Central Everly Superintendent
Dr. Stacey Cole, Storm Lake Superintendent
Mr. Jeff Kruse, Ar-We-Va, South Central Calhoun, East Sac County Superintendent