FM, Central Lee, HTC close schools for four weeks

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Central Lee, Fort Madison and Holy Trinity Catholic school officials have announced closures for the next four weeks due to the spread of the coronavirus, and at the recommendation of Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds has set a press conference for tomorrow to provide additional information.

According to a statement Sunday evening, Gov. Reynolds is making this recommendation in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and based on CDC guidelines.

“Earlier today, IDPH was notified of four additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 22 positive cases. According to IDPH, two cases are related to international travel. The individuals are residents of Allamakee County, one is a middle-age adult between 41-60 years; the other is a child, age 0-18 years. The third case is a middle-age Johnson County resident with no identified travel-related risk or exposure to a known COVID-19 case, and is considered the second case of community spread in Iowa. The fourth individual resides in Polk County and is a middle-age adult and indicates a third case of community spread,” Reynolds said in a video statement Sunday.

Fort Madison school officials posted an email Sunday evening with the following message:

“As a school district, we have been closely monitoring the news and best practices regarding the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). At the direction of Governor Kim Reynolds, this evening, she is recommending schools in Iowa must close for four weeks. This closure will begin tomorrow, March 16, 2020.

The closure affects all school programming, including before- and after-school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, and all weekend events. 

District teachers and staff have been considering e-learning plans for our students. Your teachers will be providing more information later this week.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s building principal. We understand we have some challenges regarding internet access in our community and we are trying to determine a viable solution

More details on possible breakfast and lunch services will be provided in the coming days. “

Central Lee Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier issued the following statement from Central Lee.

“As a school district, we have been closely monitoring the news and best practices regarding the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). At the direction of Governor Kim Reynolds, tomorrow she will be recommending schools in Iowa must close for four weeks. This closure will take effect on March 23. Next week, we are already scheduled to be on Spring Break.

The closure affects all school programming, including before- and after-school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, and all weekend events.

District teachers and staff have been considering e-learning plans for our students. Your teachers will be providing more information after March 23 if we go this route. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s building principal. We understand we have some challenges regarding internet access in our community and we are trying to determine a viable solution.

We are actively preparing to continue with school lunch services on March 23. More details on school lunch will be provided in the coming days.

Please know that my heart is with you. I know the days ahead will be challenging for you and your family. We will do our absolute best to rise to the occasion and try to assist you in finding solutions going forward. May we all lean on each other in the days ahead.”

The coronavirus is thought to be spread via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. As with controlling the spread of other viruses, we urge you to speak to your child about the following prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Using soap and hot water, wash for about 20 seconds. Be sure to also wash your fingertips.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your arm.
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the regular seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing. Some people with coronavirus have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some situations, the virus can develop into pneumonia.

Individuals who need medical care should call their medical providers to report their illness prior to seeking care at a clinic, physician’s office, or hospital.

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