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Superintendent's Weekly Update

Janet Stutz

Weekly Update: August 14, 2020

 

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

 

Just when we think that 2020 can’t possibly challenge us any more, we are hit with a terrible storm that causes more emotional trauma and stress to our friends and families. It is my hope that all are safe and well. Each and every day, I feel more fortunate than the previous day, to be a part of the Grinnell community. The outpouring of support from friends and neighbors is simply amazing. Staff and students rallied to assist many in need and also supported our custodial and cook crew to move trees, save frozen items and much more. We are not quite out of the clean up process yet, but each day brings more hope.   

 

The high school has taken on most of the damage to the district. We had a significant hole in the roof of the high school, a football stadium light pole is laying across the track, bleachers damaged, fences damaged, roof units for HVAC damages, new siding and roof caps torn away, and our new camera installation soaking wet as water was streaming down the west hallway. Fairview also had quite a bit of tree damage and some playground equipment damaged. Other buildings have clean up needed around the campus from debris and lost trees, but for the most part they are solid inside. This unfortunately is going to set us back a few weeks.  The Board will be reviewing calendar options to delay our start of school, while keeping student attendance not so late into June of 2021.  Please listen for a voice reach on * Thursday August 20, 2020 with updated calendar information  (Last voice reach, I indicated the wrong date, my apologies).

 

The calendar changes that I will recommend will look something like this: students will start on September 8 (modified gradual start as previously indicated), short spring break, professional development (PD) Mondays may be a combination of partial student attendance and partial PD, (still working on this idea) with the goal of students not attending school past the first week of June.  We think we can make this work and keep in line with the necessary hours as required by law. It will be close, so let’s hope for a mild winter.   

 

Due to our measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, we have to ensure that our school grounds are ready for students to be able to be outside. The delay will enable staff, custodians, and administrators to welcome students without disruption.  

 

Online learning activities delayed:

Our K-8 Principals had communicated that the online learning details would be out today. This will be out to families late next week or the following.

 

Device Turn In:

Please turn in all remaining devices and chargers  from summer enrichment and SLICK to your respective student’s building once our offices are opened following the clean up of the storm. We need the devices so we can update and get them ready for the new school year. The offices are open M-F 7:30-4pm (Once we have power returned to all buildings). Email tech@grinnell-k12.org if you need assistance.   

 

High School Student Schedules:

High School students’ schedules are posted on the Infinite Campus student/parent portal. Students needing to make schedule changes may do so by contacting their school counselor.  Only “necessary” schedule changes will be made as each change impacts balancing section sizes each trimester.  Students will be notified of their A or B day schedule as soon as power is restored to the HS Offices. 

 

Board Meeting August 19, 2020:  

The Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday August 19, 2020 in the high school auditorium and via zoom. I will keep you posted if for some unforeseen reason we need to change locations. I will have more up to date information by Monday. 

 

New Teacher Orientation and Opening Day activities will be postponed:

I will be recommending a start date after Labor Day, therefore, pending calendar approval, teacher orientation week will more than likely commence the week of August 31, 2020. Please stay tuned to when you can return to be in your classroom for set up. If we can start the week before for teachers and staff, we will let you know as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience as we navigate yet another challenge.   

 

Shelter for our Families in need: See Message from Shauna Callaway IDPH

 

**For our neighbors and communities with prolonged power outage**

A Community Shelter has been established at 1201 10th Avenue, Grinnell, at the Grinnell College Fieldhouse. Enter on the east side of the building at the ramp entrance. Alley access is available for easy drop off, and parking is on the south side of the fieldhouse. Those in need of ADA assistance can call (641) 269-4600.

 

The Community Shelter will be available 24/7 until power is restored. Showers are available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Linens and soaps will be provided. No outside toiletries will be allowed. Drinking water, bathrooms and charging stations are available as well as cots for an overnight stay, if needed.

 

Masks and social distancing outside of family units are required. Please follow Poweshiek County Emergency Management Agency on Facebook for additional updates.

 

A heartfelt thank you to our team members and partners at Poweshiek County Emergency Management Agency, Grinnell College, UnityPoint Health - Grinnell, Poweshiek County Public Health and Grinnell Fire Auxiliary Group for coming together for our communities.

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to be faced with challenges. We are looking forward to seeing our students in the coming weeks. We are working hard to have our schools cleaned up and ready for our families. Please take care and be well.  

 

Janet