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Coronavirus Information

03 Coronavirus Update 2

This web page will be updated as new information or guidelines are provided by public health officials. 

On Friday, April 17, Governor Reynolds announced that all schools would be closed through the remainder of the year. This expands the recommendation she made on Sunday, March 15 where she recommended Iowa school districts to close for four weeks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This recommendation comes from guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health and based on CDC guidelines. We will provide updates as they are available to us regarding school closure and other pertinent information. 

 

Q: What are general prevention measures for COVID-19?

Iowa Department of Public Health recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

Q: What communication has the Ames school district provided on COVID-19?

Here is a recap of the communication sent to parents and families:

COVID-19 Updates (February 28 – March 19)

COVID-19 Updates (March 23 – April 17

COVID-19 Update (April 21, 2020)

COVID-19 Update (April 23, 2020)

COVID-19 Update (April 28, 2020)

COVID-19 Update (April 30, 2020)

COVID-19 Update (May 8, 2020)

COVID-19 Update (May 20, 2020)

Communications can also be found in SpanishArabic and Chinese.

 

Q: Are District buildings be closed?

All school buildings will be closed to the public and staff through the remainder of the school year. This includes all playgrounds as well as the track and stadiums at Ames High School and Ames Middle School. Permission to enter the building will extremely limited and requires permission from District administrators.  

 

Q: What is the status of school scheduled events?

All school scheduled events will be canceled or postponed during the school closure period. This includes, but is not limited to, school clubs, extra-curricular activities, community events, as well as athletic practices and competitions. The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union have canceled events during the four-week closure.  

 

Q: Will the school district provide continuous learning during the school closure period?

The Department of Education (DE) provided public districts with two continuous learning options: Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities and Required Educational Services. The Ames Community School District will be adopting a hybrid model with the “voluntary” option being used PK-8 and the “required” option at the high school (9-12). This approach provides the opportunity for continued new learning at all levels, the greatest flexibility for our families, and ensures that students at our high school receive credit and progress toward meeting graduation requirements during this time of uncertainty. 

 

Q: Will the school district continue to pay employees during this school closure?

The school board approved continuous pay of full-time and part-time permanent employees during the four-week closure period. This includes certified staff, hourly staff, and transportation staff. The Business Office will input this information automatically. Employees may be asked to work from home and more specifics will be shared with staff from the Human Resources Department. 

 

Q: Will meals be provided to students during this closure period?

The District will be able to provide grab-and-go meals to any child 1 – 18 years of age. Three locations have been selected that include Meeker, Mitchell, and Sawyer Elementary Schools. Other school sites across the District do not qualify under the program, but ANY child, regardless of where they live, may access meals from these sites. These meals are possible because the Ames Community School District received approval from the Iowa Department of Education through the USDA to provide our Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Meals will be provided to all children without charge and provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will be distributing both breakfast and lunch grab-and-go meals. Meals can be picked up Monday through Friday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and food service staff will deliver the bags to the cars to eliminate anybody in our buildings. Hot meals will be provided twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday). Since these meals will be served hot, we will not be able to provide two days worth of meals on those days. Instead, on Monday, we will offer Monday meals and Tuesday breakfast. On Tuesday, we will offer current-day lunch (hot on Tuesday and Thursday) and the following days breakfast. We will be sending reheating instructions with the meals in case they are not consumed immediately.

 

Q: Will bussing be provided to these food locations?

In an effort to assist Ames Community School District families obtain grab-and-go meals, Durham Bus Services will be providing shuttle routes starting Monday, March 23rd. We would like to reserve the buses for families who do not have access to transportation. If you have transportation available, we ask that you drive to one of these locations to receive meals. 

We ask families to use great care in who is sent to pick up the grab & go meals. Parents are welcome to ride the bus with younger children and older students may ride alone. There is no student supervision provided on these buses and parents are expected to provide supervision.

The bus stops and pick up times can be found at the URL below. The shuttle will run every 30 minutes beginning with the first time listed. Riders will be dropped off at the designated school. Once you receive meals, a return shuttle will take you to your point of origin. 

We will be following the State and National guidelines of social distancing and will transport no more than 10 individuals on each bus who will be seated 6 feet apart. Please be respectful of others and do not use the shuttle if you are feeling sick.

If you have any questions, Durham will have staff available to help beginning 3/23/20. They can be reached at 515-233-5424 between the hours of 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Starting April 13 Bus Routes:

Updated School Lunch Shuttles Full Details

 

Q: Will school days need to be made up as a result of this closure?

The Iowa Legislature passed a bill stating that Iowa schools will not need to reschedule days of class canceled due to the coronavirus that was signed by Governor Reynolds. The Department of Education has also announced that Iowa Testing Programs have been suspended until further notice. 

 

Q: Are there technology resources available?

During this time of COVID-19 closure, we want to still provide timely tech support to students and staff as needed while following the guidelines set forth to minimize exposure and increase safety. We will continue to update this Google Doc that has information on available wifi, how to handle damaged devices, and who to contact for account issues, among many other things. 

Summer 2020 Laptop Turn-in and Support information

 

Q: What happens if my student’s computer is damaged?

If a student’s computer becomes damaged at any point, you will be able to bring it to the two metal doors on the Northeast side of the District Office building at 2005 24th St. between the hours of 9am and 12pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you are unable to make it during this time, please contact us by filling out the Tech Support Form.

 

Q: What family support services are in place?

We have set up a Google Form that students, families, or community members can fill out to help the Ames Community School District identify families in need. We will reach out to individuals in need and connect them with District and community resources to support them during this difficult time. 

Building principals are working with school counselors and school Student and Family Advocates to identify families who would benefit from food and supplies. We will be coordinating with community partners in this effort to serve our families.

The Google form can be accessed through the URL below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdrApofHn2HgOhb0qPpYbTNoKtuZm-FmPixHCMbpk95smBx6A/viewform

Email: amesfamilysupport@ames.k12.ia.us

 

Q: Are there mental health resources available online?

We have provided a few online mental health resources below. We encourage you to share these resources with family, friends, and others in the community. 

https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/covid19/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus

https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncertainty/

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/tips-social-distancing-quarantine-isolation-031620.pdf

 

More Information

Stay informed and look for information on this virus and situation from reliable and trusted expert sources:

 

Department of Education Update FAQ (April 14, 2020)

AEA Behavior and Well Being Enrichment Opportunities

McFarland Clinic COVID 19 Public Resources & FAQ Source

National Association of School Psychologists “Talking to Children about COVID-19” Parent Resource

Juicebox Interactive