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PRATT USD 382

Covid19 Info

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School Closing for February 16, 2021

Greenback Family,

With this extended stretch of extreme cold I want to give some insight into our decision-making process
for delays and cancellations. First, we want to make sure we can operate our buses safely. While our
diesel is treated, there can still be issues when the temperatures are sub-zero. For our activity buses,
there is a concern with air brakes. While the temperature doesn’t change much on a 2-hour delay it
does give our buses an opportunity to warm up sufficiently and keeps us from sending anyone out in the
dark in extreme cold. For this coming Tuesday, the temperature is just too extreme even with a 2-hour
delay, so we’ve chosen to make a cancellation.

If you think we’ve gotten soft, I ask myself the same thing. I don’t talk about going uphill in the snow
both ways to get to school, but my dad confirmed that we frequently worked/doctored cattle in sub-zero
temps (he didn’t build that shed over the working chute until I was out of the house—go figure). In the
last decade, we simply have not experienced as much snow and cold temperatures as we have
historically. A long run (several weeks) of cold temperatures would become part of the equation since I
know families and the school would become better adapted to the conditions, which would increase
safety.

As always, when the conditions are extreme, we recognize that parents must take into account different
road conditions or circumstances that may vary within our district. Please be safe!
As to the pandemic, our community and Greenback family has experienced loss that will stick with us.
But, we are seeing much improved numbers. Our regional six county block is still in Orange and that is
one of our gating criteria items. I believe Pratt has done well overall because our community put the
needs of each other at the top of the list. We are not completely out of the woods yet, and it is
important that we continue to follow our protocols and prevent possible community spread. That is
both for the safety of the community and to keep us in school and able to keep our students involved in
all of the learning activities. Freedom versus safety is always a balancing act and we will continue to
review our protocols with our Pratt County Health Department. I am especially thankful for our Pratt
County Health Department our local healthcare workers because they have been professional, practical,
and a supportive team for us.

Respectfully,
Tony Helfrich
Superintendent
Pratt Schools USD 382