March 17, 2020
Late last night the Iowa Legislature passed legislation waiving the making up of instructional time for any school days canceled prior to April 12 due to COVID-19. The legislation also gave the governor the authority to waive additional instructional time for any school days missed after April 12 due to the virus.
Currently, Mid-Prairie is on spring break for the remainder of this week. Based on last night’s legislative action, school at Mid-Prairie will be canceled from Monday, March 23 up to and including Monday, April 13. Even though there will be no school on Monday, April 13 -- teachers and other staff members will be at school on that day making preparations for the students return on Tuesday, April 14. I will recommend to the school board that April 13 not be made up at the end of the current school year. We have abundant instructional hours built into our current school calendar for this unusual, non-weather circumstance.
Additionally, I am canceling all school activities and practices between March 23 and April 12. (Activities and practices have already been canceled for this week.) This includes use of school facilities by outside groups.
The above assumes that Governor Reynolds does not see the need to cancel more school after April 12 to stop further spread of COVID-19. It is possible that we could start back to school later than April 14. If there are no further weather complications or actions by the Governor, dependent on action by the school board, the last day of the current school year will remain Monday, June 1.
This morning, I will be meeting with Amber Kempf, our Nutrition Director, to explore ways to provide meals to our students during this period of school closure. I will also be meeting with a group of teachers and administrators this afternoon to explore possible strategies to provide optional learning opportunities for our students while school is closed. We will contact you in the future with more details, but please understand that the estimated start date for these two possible projects is next week.
I want to thank Amber and the other school personnel who are generously giving up part of their spring break to explore possible nutritional and learning opportunities for the students. They would not have to do this, and I commend them for their dedication and selflessness.
I want to express my empathy to parents who now have a more difficult job juggling work and family responsibilities. On the website https://sites.google.com/a/mphawks.org/coronavirus-resources/ I have included guidance from the state for family members who may need short-term unemployment benefits due to child-care responsibilities.
I am also concerned about families of health care workers who may need childcare. I currently have no specific ideas on how the school or community can help these families whose parents are needed in our hospitals, doctor’s offices, or for emergency services. I am willing to help facilitate a community discussion if someone has any innovative ideas.
Once again I want to honor the parents for their efforts as we face these challenges together. More burden has been placed on you as we continue to look for ways to stop the quick spread of this virus. If you are feeling overburdened and at your breaking point, please reach out to someone for assistance. If you feel you have no one else, feel free to contact me.
More communication will be forthcoming in the future. As always, feel free to contact me with your questions and concerns. My email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or my cell phone (319-936-8601) are my preferred methods of contact.
Yours in service,