School closed

 At Lewis Central, the health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority. With the continued spread and uncertainty around COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, we remain in close contact with local and state health departments to keep abreast of this rapidly changing situation. 

Below you will find links to local, state, and federal health agencies. We will rely on their expertise when making decisions regarding on re-opening the school district. 

Pottawattamie Public Health Department

Pottawattamie County Emergency Management

Iowa Department of Public Health
**Advice for Talking to Children about COVID-19 Coronavirus Page

CDC Prevention Tips

Most recent announcement from Dr. Knost

August 5, 2020

Dear Lewis Central Staff and Families;

I am writing to inform all families to please watch for information coming from our building principals by the end of this week relating to the start of the school year. This information will include next steps for families who have chosen online learning as an option. They will also include new information regarding the first few days of school and measures they are putting in place for orientation purposes and to better acclimate our student population. This effort will put a heavy focus on our students who are new to their buildings, including kindergartners, second, sixth and ninth graders. Please look for that information in the next few days and reach out to your building principals for any needed clarifications.

I would also like to share some thoughts regarding various questions I continue to receive from our community. I am asked regularly why we are starting the school year in the in-person, on-campus mode while Covid-19 cases and community spread are still an issue in our county, region and our state. Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education have made it very clear that Iowa law is requiring us to return our students to school. Local Boards of Education and local superintendents do not have local control over this matter. It is, however, left in our hands to figure out the details including feasible mitigation efforts to make a return as safe as possible. 

I remain committed to our efforts and our planning which continues throughout every day and beyond. I have continually been candid and honest in stating that while we are planning for every feasible mitigation effort, it will not be a perfect situation. Our principals are applying specific details to their protocols and routines, and I truly believe these efforts will make a difference. Regardless, based upon our experiences with our summer programs, we do anticipate there will be interruptions to our efforts. Our summer programs have been largely successful, but we have dealt with our fair share of students and staff members testing positive for Covid, and we have implemented various quarantines due to related exposures. These situations are difficult, time consuming and worrisome, but we will continue to take them seriously as we do everything possible to protect our students and staff. As our plan indicates, in all cases we are conferring with our Pottawattamie County Department of Public Health, and we are following the guidance provided.

I have also received various questions regarding hybrid schedules and I want to remind everyone why we do not feel this is an effective mode/concept with which to approach school for our LC community. The primary purpose of a hybrid model is to minimize the numbers in a school building in order to reach and maintain 6 feet of social distancing between all students. We would not be able to accomplish that goal in a hybrid model. Additionally, hybrid models approved by the state require 50% of the students in a district to attend every other day, alternating with the other 50%. When 50% of the population is home, they must be officially attending school online. This means all teachers, each day, would have 50% of their students in person, and 50% simultaneously online. We believe this would result in a significant disruptive impact to the academic progress of our students. Our teachers and other adults who are most susceptible to Covid-19 would still be exposed regularly to the same number of students collectively over recurring two day periods. The biggest threat to the integrity of an in-person model will be a shortage of staff due to Covid-19 quarantines. A hybrid model does not minimize that threat, and this could be an issue with all employee groups including our bus drivers, teachers and substitutes. 

As we have stated in our plan, per the requirements from the state, we are preparing the in-person, on campus mode. If at any point it is determined by the state that a 100% online mode is appropriate, we will also be prepared for an effective switch to a robust online model that will include daily schedules, required attendance, required homework completion, assessments, grades and credits. Again, the Governor and the Iowa Department of Education have made it clear that this is legally not an option at this time. 

It is always my attempt to provide leadership and direction that is appropriate and acceptable to the majority in our school community. With every communication I receive both criticism and praise, and I accept the fact that there are a variety of opinions regarding our efforts. Daily, I lead from the heart, and my team remains focussed on the things that are within our control. We will continue to plan and we will continue to provide you with new information, as I believe this is still a very fluid situation.

With much appreciation for your patience and support, DK  

Click here for past COVID-19 related communications from Dr. Knost.

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