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Weekly Update: September 17, 2021

Janet Stutz

Weekly Update: September 17, 2021

Dear Grinnell Newburg School District Board of Education, Staff, Friends and Families: 

I would like to thank all of our families for attending the board meeting last evening. I know that this may be a challenging time and I appreciate everyone's cooperation as we navigate COVID. We had 5 more positivity reports today. We will get through this and my hope is that this will be a short remedy.


This document attempts to answer some of your most basic questions about the district’s plans to help keep students, families and staff safe as we work through this next phase of the pandemic. Our priority is to keep students in school and learning. As of today, September 17, 2021, 24 (five more reported since yesterday) positive identified cases have been reported in our school district. The County 14 day positivity rate is at 11%.  The Grinnell School Board voted at the special Board Meeting on September 16, 2021 to require masks for all students, staff and visitors in school buildings.  


What will school look like now that masks have been approved to be mandatory? 

We will follow the same protocols that we have implemented: Stay home if you are ill, wash your hands frequently, we will do routine cleaning and especially clean high touch contact areas, we will be adding many air purifiers to large classroom spaces and cafeterias, and masks will be worn indoors. All students, staff and visitors must wear a mask in school buildings. This will remain in effect until further guidance comes out from the CDC, the Department of Education, or the law is changed where masks can not be mandatory.  The Grinnell Board will continue to evaluate and monitor the county positivity rate and seek advice from our local physicians and experts.    


All other routines will remain the same as the start of this school year.  Students are to attend class sessions in school. We will not require masks while outdoors, during exercise, while playing sports, or while eating, but masks should be put back on once you are finished eating. We will continue to host events outside as much as possible and socially distance students as much as possible.    


Students will have lots of opportunities to take breaks from the masks.  Please know that principals will work with staff members to allow time to social distance and read, or to take a break at their desk. Short breaks are fine for students to take masks off.    


PPE: Students will need to wear a face mask while in school buildings. The district will have some supply for families who need face masks. Students do not need to wear masks while outdoors, or at outside athletic activities, or when participating in an athletic activity game indoors where exercise is strenuous. We will follow the CDC guidelines coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance 


What if I am exposed to COVID or test positive?

IDPH does not have an order for contract tracing therefore we suggest following this guidance:  COVID19 exposure algorithm.pdf


What steps will the district take to monitor current COVID-19 activity in our area?

The school district will collaborate with the Iowa Department of Public Health, local health officials and the EMA (Emergency Management Group) about COVID cases and report out the data on the dashboard COVID dashboard and will be provided in the weekly update.  

In the event a student or district staff member tests positive for COVID-19, how will the district notify those that have potentially been exposed?

There is no order for contract tracing at this time. Please watch the COVID dashboard for updates.  Specific student or staff illness will not be shared as it would be a violation of FERPA or Staff personnel records.   We will be posting information on the dashboard and if the number of cases increase at any building, we will notify the entire school of an outbreak.   If the number of student or staff illness exceeds 10% we will contact the Iowa Department of Public Health to make a decision if a building or district will need to close.   

How will the district monitor students’ health?

Please do not send your student to school ill. The school may contact you if your student displays symptoms at school and may need to be sent home for the day.   


What symptoms should we be aware of prior to sending our children to school?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with the following symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills (temperature of 100.3 F or above)


Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
Recent loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting


What if there is a 10% illness rate in my school?

The dashboard indicates all absences.  If there is a 10% illness rate in a given school, (any illness not just COVID related), the district will contact the Iowa Department of Public Health to determine if school should close.   IDPH has authority to close a school for longer periods of time if a communicable disease is considered an outbreak.  


Can parents come into the school to visit, eat lunch, volunteer? 

Yes, as long as they wear a mask.


Is this mask mandate for the remainder of the school year? 

We will follow the CDC guidelines or until further direction is provided by the Department of Education or the Iowa Department of Public Health, or our local physicians and epidemiologist experts.   


What if a student refuses to wear a mask? 

We encourage all students to wear a mask. We are grateful for everyone’s effort over the last year and how awesome our students were during these challenging times. If a student does not comply, parents may be contacted to discuss and encourage their student to comply, or may be sent home for the day.


Although the district is not offering an online option, could students “work from home” to complete assignments for credit?  

Please discuss this with your school counselor.  This option is only available under the homebound policy for students that have an illness or other condition and should be based upon a current health plan.    


Are face shields and gaiters allowed instead of masks? 

We will follow what is recommended by the CDC.  If your student has difficulty with a face mask, then we will work with our families to find the best solution to assist students while in the school building. Here is the guidance for masks: Masks


If you have any questions, who should you contact?

Please reach out to your building principal, school nurse or district office if you have any questions or concerns.  

 Kites Over Grinnell:  September 25 Ahrens Park

This Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. you will see professional kite fliers flying some pretty amazing kites.  Students in grades K-6 will be putting together kites donated to them by the Rotary Club.  We hope you come on out for free food and fun activities!   This is a great family event.  


Tree Planting:

We are looking for volunteers to help with Tree Planting events. Here is the link to sign up to volunteer: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C44AEAB2DA3F9C07-1000trees

Girls swimmingGroup girls swimmingIndivisual swimming


Last Friday Night Grinnell High School recognized two very important people Jim Dunne & Bruce Kriegel. Presenting the awards are Activities Director Chris Coffman and Superintendent Dr. Janet Stutz.


All 34 of Jim Dunne's varsity football coaching career came at Grinnell, where he spent 11 seasons as an assistant under Steve Kriegel and then 23 as an award-winning head coach. Dunne won nine district titles and recorded a 174-67 record as a head coach, twice a coach of the year finalist and Class 3A's coach of the year in 1998. Grinnell was the Class 3A runner-up in that 1998 season, tying their best finish in program history. His Tiger teams went to the playoffs 15 times, and included 59 all-state players throughout his tenure. Joining Coach Dunne tonight is his wife Sara and their children Kaitlyn and Eli. Congratulations Coach Jim Dunne on your induction into the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.


We are all honored to officially induct into the GHS Tiger Hall of Fame the greatest Tiger manager of all time - Bruce Kriegel.   Bruce is the son of Susan Kriegel and former head football and basketball coach Steve Kriegel.  Bruce will be joining his dad, former football coach on the hall of fame wall at GHS.  Bruce has been a football and basketball manager for the last 20 years.  Tiger football and basketball would not be the same without Bruce leading his beloved Tigers out onto the field and court.  Accompanying Bruce is his mother Susan, sister Laura, her husband Eric and children Tyler and Hayden, sister Emily with her friend Max. Bruce, we all appreciate you!!!  Congratulations on being inducted into the Tiger Hall Of Fame.  


HonorFriday night footballBruce and Team

Varsity volleyballserving


Upcoming Events:


Check out the activities Calendar here


Also, don't forget to take a look at the Virtual Backpack!


Have an awesome weekend!



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