COVID-19 Notes from Supt. Kruse

A note from ESC Superintendent Jeff Kruse
August 5, 2020
The district is nearing completion of the Return to Learn, R2L, plan as required by the Department of Education.  A preview of the preliminary plan is scheduled to be released by Friday, August 7, to the public.  The board will officially approve the plan on Wednesday, August 12.  The R2L plan information continually changes and could change again by the time school begins on Monday, August 24 as this continues to be a fluid situation.  The board could modify the plan during the August 12 board meeting to be held at the HS beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The R2L plan for onsite learning, online continuous learning from home, and a possible hybrid model are being developed with professional development opportunities for staff.  At this point in time, ESC is planning to return to school with onsite learning.  Survey data was collected from staff and the community.  As of August 3, 90 staff members and 265 community members completed the survey.  Sixty seven percent of staff members and 68% of community members who responded to the survey prefer continuing school onsite.  The use of masks was the most diverse in the voting, but a majority of the respondents in both surveys felt masks should be optional.  The ESC R2L plan currently makes the wearing of a mask optional, but strongly encouraged especially when social distancing cannot be accomplished.  Parents will be asked to screen students at home and not send their child to school with a temperature within the past 24 hours or provide any medication that would mask a temperature.  Access to buildings will be limited to the extent possible to staff, students, and personnel required to keep school in operation.  Mitigation procedures are being implemented in the custodial, transportation, and food service departments.  Greater details are provided in the R2L plan.  Cleaning solutions are nearly identical to those products used prior to COVID-19, but cleaning will be more frequent.  If a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is received, the district will communicate with the Department of Public Health to move to alternate educational systems within the district’s plan as necessary.  Students will need to use water bottles at school and not share.  Hand washing and social distancing will be encouraged and expected where possible.
And finally, ESC staff and PLAEA members must be thanked for their difficult work in the development of the ESC R2L plan.  Information has changed constantly requiring personnel to evaluate what was needed to be included in the plan.  In the end, the following link proved helpful in making our decision:  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XwG5UqbePj8&feature=youtu.be.  As new information surfaces and recommendations change, the district will continue to evaluate that information.
A letter from East Sac County Superintendent about school returning in the fall

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.

Educationally,

Jeff Kruse

ESC Superintendent

A letter from East Sac County Administrators about student Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities until April 30th

To: Parents, Guardians, Hosts, Caregivers

Fr: East Sac County Community School District

Re: Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities

Dear Parents:

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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A letter to ESC High School students and parents from Principal Kevin Litterer

March 17, 2020

To: Students

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Tests: Teachers may contact students with alternative methods for completing tests.
  5. Grades will be emailed OR mailed to parents on Friday, March 20th.
  6. 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

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

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With the governor’s Sunday, March 15, late recommendation to discontinue school for 4 weeks, AWV, ESC, and SCC will begin not holding school starting on Monday, March 16. I apologize for the late notice and the confusion this has created for staff and families, but as districts we are following the guidance as provided. Tentatively, administrative teams will meet on Monday, March 16, to discuss plans and prepare more detailed communication to staff and patrons. I appreciate your patience until we have the opportunity to meet.
Likely meetings with staff will be scheduled for Tuesday to provide communication and respond to any questions. One option to discuss will be setting a time for students to collect their personal belongings. As more information is known, we will share it as timely as possible. I will be meeting with area superintendents tomorrow afternoon to share and learn how other districts are responding to this recent change of events. The districts will be exploring lunch options when full details are shared by the Dept. of Education.
In conclusion, no school on March 16 for staff and students. Staff may be requested to attend school on Tuesday, March 17 for updates and the ability to gather personal items. Except for cooks, custodians, transportation directors, and office staff, please wait to return to school until Tuesday. SCC has a board meeting on March 16 and ESC on March 19. AWV may need to schedule a special meeting. I’m sure this will be a topic of discussion.
Educationally,
Jeff Kruse

March 15, 2020

COVID-19 Update (3/15/2020)

East Sac County and South Central Calhoun schools are following the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health  recommendations at this point and time.  Iowa is under the Minimal to Moderate designation.

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.

Food Service

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.

Student Absences

If your child is sick, running a fever, or not feeling well, please keep them home.

Bus

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.

Educationally,

Jeff Kruse, East Sac County Superintendent

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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.

Sincerely,

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

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