March 15, 2020
Dear Sheldon School Families,
The Sheldon Community School District continues to closely monitor the situation involving the COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus pandemic and is working in coordination with county, state, and federal health authorities. Currently, per guidance from the Governor and the Iowa Department of Public Health, school will remain open. As you know, this situation is very fluid and things are changing rapidly.
The safety, health, and well-being of our students, staff, and families is a top priority for the District. Our decision making reflects that, as we are demonstrating an abundance of caution to prevent the anticipated spread of the virus once it arrives in our community. While it is inconvenient and uncomfortable to postpose events, initiate social distancing strategies, and implement self-isolation measures, these public health interventions are proven to slow the spread of disease. Sheldon Community Schools will be taking the following additional action steps to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and families by suspending all non-essential activities until Monday, March 30, 2020. This will include:
- Visitor access to Sheldon school facilities will be limited.
- Parents/Guardians will have restricted building access except for pick-up/drop-off routines.
- Lunch with students will be suspended until further notice.
- Volunteers, school-based mentors, and non-district personnel will halt service and/or use of Sheldon school facilities.
- Field trips will be postponed.
- Parent/Teacher Conferences and other meetings will be conducted by phone or electronically. Additional information about this will be forthcoming.
- Athletic competitions and fine arts performances/concerts in Sheldon school facilities will be postponed. Parade of Bands postponed.
- School-sponsored athletic, fine arts, and co-curricular practices and/or student meetings will continue as regularly scheduled.
- Community events to be held in Sheldon school facilities will be postponed.
- Club-sports, community-based recreation practices, and/or fine arts rehearsals and performances will be postponed until further notice.
Families and staff who have traveled within – and outside – the United States, or have trips planned in the coming weeks, should review the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Sheldon Community School District requests the following travel guidance be followed:
- If traveling out of the country, do not return to school for 14 calendar days from the end of your trip.
- If traveling to an affected area, contact our school nurse prior to returning to school. We will consult with Public Health, and if necessary, you will be directed to stay home and follow Public Health protocol prior to returning to school.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Sanford Sheldon Medical Center has asked that you CALL to arrange an appointment.
We all play a vital role in helping to prevent the spread of viruses. While the following steps may sound simple, 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.
- Follow Sick Day Guidelines:
- When experiencing a fever of 100 degrees or higher, stay home until the fever has been gone with no medicine for 24 hours.
- When experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, stay home until the symptoms subside for 24 hours.
- If antibiotics are prescribed, remain home for 24 hours after the first dose of the medicine.
Parents have the right to keep their children at home if they feel it is in the best interest of their student’s health. All absences related to COVID-19 will be excused.
While we work to protect the health and safety of our students, it's also important to consider ways we can continue to serve students' academic needs in the event of school closure. After careful consideration, we have determined that moving to online distance learning is not a viable option at this point. We are not prepared to ensure online distance learning could be done with fidelity and delivered equitably to all students. Barriers such as internet access, computer availability, and parental presence and support are some of the barriers that exist. Thankfully for our children, our extremely caring and compassionate teachers have already been discussing supplemental materials for enrichment and many teachers will be providing those opportunities to reduce the potential of learning loss if we are required to close school. If days are missed due to a closure, we expect the state will provide guidance on how/if those days will be made up.
We are working our way through an unprecedented situation. Decisions are being made as a result of the guidance shared with us by the Iowa Department of Public Health in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control. We thank you for your understanding and assistance as we move through this difficult and ever-changing situation.
Sheldon Community School District