It has been a very successful school year so far, even though we are dealing with all of the difficult issues that come with the coronavirus pandemic and the protocols and procedures we have that come with that. It is clear that the virus is in our communities, and it is also clear that working closely with our local health department is the best way to keep families up to date and informed about the situation. We initially felt that it would be possible to keep everyone up-to-date on a daily basis with cases, first contacts, tracing, and treatments. We will pass along any new information we get, but when it comes to determining who has tested positive, who is a first contact, how long they quarantine, etc., that information must come directly from your healthcare provider or Southwest Nebraska Public Health. Those health professionals make contact with those students or staff members and also who they may have had contact with. If you have no clear connection to that positive, you will not be contacted. They can do it confidentially and quickly, and this method will keep you informed when need be. It is clear that this virus has spread and as individuals, we must take whatever appropriate actions necessary to keep our school open. That was the number one wish from our public before school started. Questions we had were “What can we do to keep school going through the year?” “How normal of a year can we have, and how long would this persist?” We will continue to continually check students and staff for symptoms, send students and staff home when need be, sanitize, and if further measures must be taken such as quarantines, health professionals will make that determination and advise you.
Weather has made an early strike and has caused us to have our first late start. Please be advised that most local radio and television stations will have a running list of schools that have closed or have a late start, but you also will receive an automated call and text to inform you. Some storms are hard to read, arrive late at night or early in the morning, and the decision has to be made before those buses hit the road. We always try to keep in mind that just because school gets dismissed it doesn’t mean that a parent’s job has been called off due to weather. We will try to weigh things carefully and if you ever feel that it is not safe for your child to attend school due to weather or roads, you certainly can keep them home.
Our free breakfast and lunch program has been a rousing success, so please encourage your child to take advantage of that. It is a real plus to be able to take advantage of these free meals for the entire school year. We know that a child who has had breakfast and lunch will do better in school, and have a better chance of staying healthy. Please do everything you can to keep yourselves safe and healthy.
R. Todd Porter