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COVID Update - June 1, 2020

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29 May 2020


Greenback Family,


As summer begins, we continue to work on preparations for our next school year.  I want to give you some insight into our planning.  Of course, student safety is at the top of the list, and we want to do what is best for our students, families, and our community.  Some of the finer details to our planning will be adapted as the experts learn more about COVID-19 and we adjust to the state and local pandemic numbers.


At this time, we believe we will have face-to-face learning with our students in August on the expected calendar start date.  We are excited about being able to connect in that way with all of our students.  Our teachers are gearing up for higher absenteeism as we work with students who may need to be quarantined for a time period (two weeks, for example).  We want students and families to be safe and we want to keep our students growing.  If a student does have an extended absence, will still provide educational opportunities and a bridge for a smooth return.


As we have, we will work in conjunction with our local health department and emergency management to coordinate efforts to best serve our students and community.  We will certainly follow any guidelines issued from them.  With that said, I do think our experience in Kansas will lead to an adapted approach in the Fall instead of a blanket closure of schools in the state.   Seeing the events in the world, especially northern Italy, state governors made dramatic moves to stop the spread of the pandemic.  Having overwhelmed healthcare resources was always the primary concern in regards to public safety.  I expect the way forward to be more graduated.


While the nation is under a pandemic footing, we will operate with three zones.  Green would indicate there are zero to few cases in the county (that top number is still TBD).  Under Green, we will have advanced cleaning protocols and procedures with students reporting feeling ill.  Amber would indicate that a higher number of cases (again that zone is TBD in conjunction with our health department) are identified in Pratt county.  Here, we would maintain strict cleaning protocols (as were added in Green) and add social distancing measures.  This could include school attendance shifts so we reduce numbers in class in a given moment.  This way we still regularly engage (every other day) with students, which will help academic growth and encourage more productivity when a student is on his/her distance learning day.  We may also look at having masks “at-the-ready” for close contact situations.  Red would indicate enough cases (again, TBD) are identified in the county that USD 382, in coordination with our local health department, closes school buildings for a specified time, i.e. 2-4 weeks.  During this time, all learning would be done through a distance format.  To put this planning into perspective, we would have been in the Green zone all through the 4th quarter.


Please visit with us if you have concerns.  We know that we may have students with specific health concerns and we want to look out for all of our Greenback family.  If you have serious worries about the Fall, please call your principal and have a conversation.  If you are unable to reach a building, you can call our Central Office at 672-4500.


I want to thank our parents, especially those with younger students, for your effort this last quarter.  We know more of the burden fell on to you.  Your support is a foundation to our success with students. 


Tony Helfrich


Pratt Schools USD 382