I am writing today to give you an update on our local COVID-19 numbers and to ask for your help.

Unfortunately the number of cases and percent of tests that are returning as positive are increasing here in Polk County. That is concerning to us as we are working very hard to bring students back to school in person. We need your help and the help of our entire community in getting those numbers back down. I urge everyone to follow the guidance we have been hearing from our health officials – wear face coverings when out in public, wait and socially distance six feet apart from others, and wash your hands and practice good hygiene. Doing these things can help bring our numbers back down and make it safer for students and staff, so let’s work together and do our part!

I also want to remind families who are sending students back to school in person that it will be important for you to have a contingency plan in place if a classroom, school or the district has to move to all remote learning. We certainly want our students to be back in school and to stay in school, but it is possible, and perhaps likely, that some classrooms or schools may have to be shut down due to positive cases or exposures. We know how difficult this will be for so many of our families, but I want to be clear with you that this may happen and we all need to be as prepared as possible.

I would encourage our in-person families to begin letting students practice the wearing of face coverings to get used to doing so while at school. As we have repeatedly made clear, the wearing of cloth face coverings will be required of all students and staff who will be in our schools. Being positive about this and about all of us doing our part will help your student’s attitude. Letting students have some practice with face coverings will make it easier on them when they return. We will be sending out more information and resources about face coverings early next week.

Finally, I once again ask for your patience and support as we work to make the best of a very difficult situation. We continue to finalize our reopening plans and will be contacting families who have not made their final decision on how they will return to school. There will be more information to come over the next days and throughout next week. Please know our educators are excited to see and eager to serve our amazing students. Thank you, and goodnight.