The Charles City School District has posted this Q-and-A about coronavirus.
Charles City Community Schools Covid-19
Frequently Asked Questions – Families
Q. Will Charles City Community Schools temporarily close due to COVID-19?
A. As of now we are not closing. We are following the guidance and expert recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health and as of March 13, the IDPH says, “There is currently no known community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa and IDPH is not making any recommendations to cancel planned events and mass gatherings at this time.” These are not decisions that are taken lightly and have been made with significant research and collaboration with medical experts.
Q. What is “community spread”?
A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines “community spread” as the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. For example, many of the Iowa COVID-19 cases can be traced back to an Egyptian cruise, that source is KNOWN. Community spread would be where there isn’t a direct tie to a known infection source.
Q. What about people who traveled over spring break?
A. The CDC is recommending any students or staff who traveled to a country where the CDC identifies COVID-19 is spreading through community spread are being asked to voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days following their return. Please contact your school and let them know if you traveled to one of these areas:
Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City)
Q. What about people who traveled to other places over Spring Break?
A. The CDC only recommends people who traveled to areas identified with a Warning Level 3 travel advisory self-quarantine. People who traveled in the United States, Mexico, or other places not identified by the CDC are clear to come to school as normal.
Q. What is the Charles City Community Schools doing to keep people safe?
• We implemented the COVID-19 Coronavirus Action Plan plan before spring break and are continuing with this plan.
• Before spring break we ordered additional supplies of hand sanitizer for each classroom and disinfecting wipes.
• Our operations staff performed a routine deep clean over spring break of learning spaces.
• On Monday, teachers are reteaching basic hygiene skills to all students.
• We regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched, such as shared desks, countertops, kitchen areas, electronics, and doorknobs. We clean and disinfectant high touch surfaces with US EPA registered disinfectants from 3M.
• Beginning Monday, our food service company will close all self-service stations and offering individually wrapped items for student convenience.
• We are following the Iowa Department of Public Health’s guidance COVID-19 Guidance: PK-12 School Administrators.
Q. Des Moines Public Schools closed and Iowa universities and colleges are canceling “face-to-face” classes, why isn’t Charles City Community Schools?
A. Des Moines Public begins spring break on Monday, and then had three days of professional learning after break. They only actually canceled two days of schools, March 26-27. Colleges have students living in dorms on campus and are governed by the Iowa Board of Regents. Students at these educational institutions travel abroad more and are more vulnerable to community spread. Once again we are following Iowa Department of Public Health recommendations.
Q. Will Charles City Community Schools continue to host sporting events, concerts, plays, dances, graduation, and other events?
A. At this time, all events are still on schedule per the guidance of the Iowa Department of Public Health. In the event of any school closures, we have a task force researching our procedures moving forward on hosting events and we plan to release new information about this by March 20 at the latest. Many statewide events have been canceled and communication has been sent to the students impacted by these changes. If schools need to be closed we will work collaboratively to find solutions that keep people safe and still honor the hard work of our students.
At this time, we are following the guidance of the Iowa Department of Public Health and as of March 13, the IDPH says, “There is currently no known community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa and IDPH is not making any recommendations to cancel planned events and mass gatherings at this time.”
Q. If the Iowa Department of Public Health recommends schools close, would we use online learning?
A. We have a task force exploring this. However, online learning hours do not count as contact hours for the State of Iowa. Therefore, while students could be online, we still have to find a way to make up the actual contact time or the state would have to forgive the hours.
Q. What if I want to keep my children home even though school is in session?
A. Keeping your children at home is a family decision for parents to make. If you choose to keep your children at home during this time, please contact your school and let them know you will be keeping your student(s) home and the reason why.
Q. Do you have enough toilet paper for students and staff?
A. Yes. Charles City Community School suppliers are fully stocked and we can reorder with no supply chain problems.
Q. How can families reinforce hygiene skills teaching at home?
A. You can reduce your risk of infection if you:
• Clean hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow.
• Stay home when you are sick. Keep students at home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen
• Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
• Review this document: Germs are everywhere
Q. Where can I stay up-to-date on information?
A. Information on the COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. We will continue to update you via our normal communication streams with the latest information about the Charles City Community Schools. We also recommend credible websites like the CDC and IDPH for more information.
Q. Who’s making decisions during this event?
A. The Charles City Community Schools senior leadership team is meeting daily on COVID-19 and is taking the advice of the Iowa Department of Public Health leaders and doing significant research with medical experts. The Charles City Community Schools senior leadership team is also engaging with local public health leadership, emergency management, and is including IC Catholic school and the TLC Daycare Center as part of our regular COVID-19 planning. Finally, staff and student leadership is being engaged with our planning task forces as we develop contingency plans in the event we experience school closures.
Q. What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?
A. You can ask questions at https://forms.gle/RAgzU8PthTco88TV9 and we will answer them individually or we will include them in future FAQs.
IDPH Mass Gathering Recommendations (3/12/20)
COVID-19 Guidance: PK-12 School Administrators (3/12/20)
Iowans Returning from Countries Affected by COVID-19 Urged to Self-Isolate (3/3/20)
Charles City Community Schools COVID-19 Action Plan (3/13/20)
Germs are Everywhere (3/13/20)
Lead by example handwashing poster