POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 sent the following letter to parents and guardians from Dr. Douglas Howell, Superintendent Friday:
Dear PCSD 25 Parents and Guardians:
THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS OF OUR STAFF, LEARNERS, FAMILIES AND SCHOOL COMMUNITIES IS A TOP PRIORITY AT PCSD 25
We are continuing to work with a high degree of cooperation with the Idaho State Department of Education (SDE), the Southeast Idaho Health Department and other state agencies. Per the SDE, we are currently in communication mode. What does that mean? It means we are working in collaboration with state agencies and other educational institutions to proactively prepare for a variety of scenarios from 1-2 confirmed cases to widespread occurrences throughout our community and help mitigate community spread of the disease. In the meantime, it is worth restating: At this time, there remain no confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Idaho and the risk of the average citizen contracting the disease remains low.
In an effort to keep you informed, we have prepared the following brief summary of our prevention and preparation efforts in regards to coronavirus (COVID-19).
WHAT WE KNOW & WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
At this time, our primary goal is to provide ongoing, seamless services to the learners we serve while prioritizing their health and wellness.
Keep Schools Open and Operating Safely
- Our learners receive the best educational experience when in school. As long as our schools remain safe for students, staff and our community, we will remain open. Of course, we will respect the right of parents/guardians to make choices they believe are best for their child. We have been assured by public health officials that school closures in our area are unwarranted at this time.
Clean Schools and Amplified Personal Hygiene Practices
- We have encouraged staff and learners to practice heightened awareness for personal hygiene and clean schools/sites.
- We continue to encourage our learners, staff and community to stay healthy with regular hand washing, avoiding touching of the face, staying home when sick, and other tips that can be located at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
If Schools Close
- While we are taking measures with an abundance of caution, we will not close schools out of anxiety or fear. We have full confidence that our local health officials will provide the proper guidance and recommendations in the event we need to close schools.
- If we are required to close some or all of our schools on a temporary basis, we will provide more specific information about what to expect at that time.
- If we are required to close some or all of our schools for an extended period of time, the school year may be extended.
- In the case of a long-term school closure, we will develop a plan for delivering content (i.e. online or homework packets) and providing meals for learners in need. Additional details to follow.
- If we are required to close some or all of our schools on a temporary basis, all athletics and activities will be canceled.
Learner Attendance Impact
- If we are required to close some or all of our schools, learners in the impacted schools will not be charged an absence during that time, similar to a snow day.
- If a learner contracts COVID-19 or chooses to stay home to avoid contracting COVID-19, we will work with their family on a case-by-case basis.
- Per recommendations from the CDC and local health officials, PCSD 25 will be suspending all attendance initiatives until further notice.
- Please seek information from reliable sources: https://www.sd25.us/Content2/coronavirus
· Beginning Monday, March 16, PCSD 25 will not be sponsoring any out-of-state travel for staff and learners until further notice.
· Athletic/activities director will communicate directly with participants about any other in-state/out-of-district or in-district events and activities on a case-by-case basis utilizing the best information on hand at the time the decision is made.
· We encourage staff and families to refer to CDC best practices for all personal non-essential travel, especially during spring break.
· Beginning Monday, March 16, PCSD 25 will discontinue all nonessential school assemblies and limit mass gatherings to 250 participants until further notice.
Our priority continues to be the safety, health, and well-being of our staff, learners and school communities. We will continue monitoring any developments and plan accordingly in partnership with local, state, and federal authorities. As you have likely observed from media reports, this situation is changing rapidly from day-to-day and even minute-to-minute. You can expect to receive timely, useful information from us as accurate updates become available.