Coronavirus School and Community Information

Information for parents, teachers, and students about the coronavirus Last Updated: 5/1/2020 2:00 PM

UPDATE: 4-30-2020  en espanol

Preston School District Parents and Students:

Yesterday we (two board members and I) met with local and regional health officials to ask what we could do to come back to school.  We felt that it was our duty to know how to come back, and pursue coming back if we could do so safely.  After the conversation it was clear that there was not a reasonable path back that would be accepted by the health officials and so we as a district will remain in soft closure until the end of the 2019-2020 academic school year.

What that means for us now is that we will continue to pursue home-based learning until the end of the school year. 

Here are a couple of key points:

  1.  Home-Based Learning will continue for all schools until May 14th.  No assignments should have a due date after May 14th. The last week (May 18th-21st) will be used for any make-up that needs to be completed. (Dual-Credit Courses may have different arrangements as determined by the sponsoring university) 

***Franklin County High School students will have a different plan for the final block.  Please watch for information from your teachers and Mrs. Russom.***

  1. Schools will also use the final week (May 18-21) to arrange small groups to return to school voluntarily for end of year matters assuming the state has moved to the 2nd Stage outlined by the governor. Specifics for the last week will be delivered at a later date.
  2. We have worked with the local health department to identify methods of bringing smaller groups of students (2 to 3 at a time) in for specialized instruction.  This is allowed for in the State Board of Education's recent decision regarding the soft closure of schools.  As a district we have allowed some specific areas to come in for small group instruction, primarily in the special education courses. 

However, we recognize there may be other situations where teachers and students may be willing and able to participate with instruction in specialized courses that cannot be done in a home-based setting.  As we move to expand this offering slightly in the district we will establish a maximum number of students allowed in a classroom as well as the maximum number of students allowed in a building. As there will still be limitations, these options will not be required for students.  Teachers will contact students if this will be arranged for their course.

  1.  Plans for graduation are ongoing.  We had a slight problem in reaching all seniors and their parents with some surveys and have rectified the problem, but we plan to make decisions surrounding graduation for seniors on Monday (May 4th) to give some time for all seniors and their parents to share their thoughts.  We will communicate those plans on Monday next week.

I would like to add how much I appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this situation.  Everything has not gone as many of us would have liked or hoped, but I appreciate each of you making the best of a difficult situation. Continue to feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns.

Mr. Gee

UPDATE: 3-24-2020 1:41 pm

Preston School District Parents,

Yesterday the state school board directed all schools in the state to remain closed until April 20.  This closure will include holding classes at home.  Additionally, the school will be providing a grab-and-go lunch.  We are working through the details of these processes currently and will provide additional information by evening on Friday.  There may be a few additional surveys we ask that you complete so that we can plan for numbers for different programs.  This week continues to be Spring Break and no due dates will be assigned this week.  All class information will be shared on Monday the 30th if it has not already been shared.

As we move through the coming days I want to assure that we will be doing all we can to make the process as smooth as possible.  There will be issues that arise and we ask that you keep in touch with your teachers and principals with both concerns and other information that will help us create the best learning experience we can in the circumstances we have.

Thank you and we will provide more details by Friday.

UPDATE: 3-19-2020 1:22 pm (En Espanol)

Preston School District Parents,

I just wanted to follow up with you on a few things.  Some of you have been contacted by your students’ teachers regarding coming assignments or coming expectations for their class if we have an extended closure.  If you have not already, that is nothing to worry about.  We have asked that teachers be ready to send those out by Monday, March 30th, in the event of an extended school closure.

The school board will decide if there will be an extended closure and for how long, on Thursday, March 26th .  We will contact parents on the website and via text/email messaging that night or Friday morning.  We are waiting as long as we can to be able to make a decision with as much information at our disposal as possible.

In those emails we will have details regarding school work, technology supports, lunch, etc.  If you, or someone in your household, have not taken the survey yet. Please do so. It is also available in Spanish on the website or from this LINK.

Spring break is a break.  Students should not have assignments due during the break.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help or assist as we prepare for the coming weeks.

Thanks again for your help and understanding throughout this process. 

Marc Gee

Superintendent

 

UPDATE: 3-18-2020 12:17 pm

Parents, 

Please take this survey about our lunch program during an extended closure and your technology capabilities at home.  Thanks.

SURVEY CLICK HERE

UPDATE: 3-17-2020 3:10 pm

Preston School District Parents and Students:

I wanted to share a few updates regarding school work and expectations for this week.

  1.  No work is expected to be turned in this week.  We are treating March 17, 18, and 19th like snow days.  Tests, quizzes, papers, etc. that were due this week will now be due the week following Spring Break.  Please wait for information from your teacher to guide you on those assignments and due dates, and how they will be managed.
  2. There will be a survey distributed tomorrow that we are requesting that all parents take.  This survey will help us as we develop lunch and technology plans in the event we are out of school for an extended period of time.
  3. Teachers are working to prepare materials for students in all grades. Prior to expecting any work from your students, the teachers will send information to the student and parents regarding the expectations and how to communicate and support home study coursework. 
  4. Tomorrow, (Wed March 18, 2020) schools will be open for parents/students to come and retrieve personal items from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm.  If you cannot come to pick your items up during that time, please contact your school to schedule another time to get your things.  During this time school staff will ask that you not linger to socialize so as to avoid situations where it would be difficult to practice social distancing.

Thank you for all your patience through this process.  We will continue to update the school website with information on the coronavirus planning in our district. 

UPDATE:  3-16-2020 8:48 pm

Preston School District Parents, Staff, and Students:

Preston School District will cancel all schools and classes for students, starting Tuesday, March 17 through at least the end of Spring Break.  The board will re-evaluate the scenario at the end of spring break to see if additional time of closure is necessary.  I apologize for the lateness of this announcement, but we felt like there were a number of items to review to make sure this significant decision was thoroughly vetted.  This closure is in response to changes in the situation and changes in advice from government leaders and continued monitoring of the situation. Teachers will be expected to report to school unless they are feeling sick.  Teachers will be using the time from Tuesday through Thursday to prepare lessons to deliver to students in the event the closure lasts longer than through Spring Break. 

More detailed information regarding options and expectations for learning from home will be delivered prior to the start of the home study program.  Additionally, we are working on options for a lunch program for students in the event of a long-term closure and will reach out to gather information from homes about their interest in a lunch program as well as access to technology for continued education.  In the event that a home did not have the required technologies at home, modifications will be made so that all students can continue to learn.

As we made this decision, we consulted with the local health department and they indicated that these closures will only help stop the spread of the virus if students stay home and continue to exercise vigilance in basic hygiene like washing hands frequently.  This includes reconsidering travel plans associated with Spring Break.  We would encourage all to follow guidance from the local health department so that we can hasten the time when schools can be opened again.

Thank you all again for the help you have given and patience you have shown as we work through the process.

Sincerely,
Marc Gee

Superintendent

UPDATE:  3-15-2020 6:30 pm

Preston School District Students, Parents, and Teachers,

The Preston School District School Board met today and determined that we will continue to hold school.  Tomorrow (Monday, March 16th) schools will open and classes will be held on their regular schedule. 

We continue to ask that if you are sick that you stay home.  This directive is for students and staff alike.  If you feel sick, stay home.  Additionally, if you have travelled from a community where there are documented cases of coronavirus, we would ask that you stay home.  If you don’t know, please find out before sending your student to school.

Parents always have the right to do what they feel is in the best interests of their children. If you feel you should keep your student home, or teachers, if you feel you should not come to school, as a district we will not penalize in attendance, grades, etc.  Our teachers will provide homework and adequate time for completion of that work.

We would also ask that parents and students continue to vigilant in preventative measures to keep themselves healthy:

  • Stay home when sick until at least 24 hours after fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are already sick.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a bent arm or tissue and wash hands afterwards.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, dry hand with a paper towel, and use the paper towel to turn off faucet.
  • Try to keep hands away from nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, cosmetics or personal care items (lip balm, eye drops, etc.)

There were a number of factors that played a part in the school board’s decision.  One of those is this decision tree published by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC).  This flowchart can be seen at the following website:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/considerations-for-school-closure.pdf

As you can see from this flowchart in communities where there is no community spread, or even minimal to moderate spread, the CDCs recommendation is to remain in school.  In a community where there is substantial spread of the disease, they recommend extended school closures.  Additionally, if there were a case involving one of the students in the district, the recommend procedures would be to close schools for 2-5 days, clean/disinfect the school and then return.

In consultation with our regional health department in Pocatello, the state department of health and welfare, the state department of education, and the governor’s office, we feel it is in the best interests of the community to continue to hold classes.

This decision was not made lightly and in a situation such as the one we find ourselves; things could change in the next hour, day, or week.  If the situation changes and circumstances in some of these areas become such that they require a different action, we will do so. Here are some situations that would cause an adjustment:

  • Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in Cache Valley and/or our Community
  • Announced changes from local health organizations
  • Announced changes for schools from the CDC
  • Announced changes from the governor and other state agencies

 Until then, we will continue to do our very best to provide your students with the best education they can receive.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.


 

UPDATE (3-15-20 9:15 am):  School Board Members and Superintendents are meeting with Governor Little via conference call this afternoon.  The governor has asked that we hold off on making any decisions about closing school until after the call.  Following that call, the board will decide which course of action will be taken.  Instructions will be sent out in either case for all district patrons.

Currently throughout the nation schools and communities are responding to the ever-changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  Preston School District is no different, and though no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been found near Preston, let alone in Idaho, (as of the writing of this letter) we are taking steps to be prepared should it be determined that we need to take specific actions.  We are working together with local and state health and education agencies to make sure we can best serve the health and educational needs of all our students and staff.

Below you will find:

  • recommended preventative measures that should be taken
  • school plans and recommendations regarding attendance
  • school plans should schools have to be closed
  • frequently asked questions and contact information for additional questions
  • informational links from CDC, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, etc.

Recommended Preventative Measures:

  • Stay home when sick until at least 24 hours after fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are already sick.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a bent arm or tissue and wash hands afterwards.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, dry hand with a paper towel, and use the paper towel to turn off faucet.
  • Try to keep hands away from nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, cosmetics or personal care items (lip balm, eye drops, etc.)

School Plans and Recommendations Regarding Attendance:

  • PLEASE Stay home when sick. 
  • The school district will work with individual students and families to ensure that attendance issues related to the coronavirus do not impact a student’s ability to graduate, receive credit, or move to the next grade.
  • If your student has been out of the area, in a city, region, or foreign country where there have been confirmed cases of coronavirus, we would ask that you contact the school prior to bringing them back to school to discuss the situation with school administration 

    (NEW 3-13-20)In those circumstances, we are asking for this simply to try and be proactive about keeping our student population safe.  As a school district we do not, and cannot, place a student in quarantine.  We can, by policy, prevent a student from attending school temporarily to ensure there is not danger of passing an illness to others.   We are working with local and state health departments to get guidance on these matters and we will send an update Sunday (3-15-20) afternoon regarding our plans for Monday and what families in these situations should plan for.

  • In the end, if your student has recently been in an area that had positive tests for the virus or is showing any signs of sickness we ask that they be kept home.  We will work with parents on an individual basis to determine the appropriate measures to be taken.

School Plans Should Schools be Required to Close:

If schools were required to close for an extended period of time the district will continue to provide educational opportunities for students.  We are working as a staff and faculty on the method we would use to deliver instruction.  Most likely those would be a combination of hard copies of assignment and online delivery.  If families do not have an online connection at their home, arrangements will be made to get the material in an alternate format.  We will do our best to make those assignments reasonable in scope and within the capabilities of students to complete at home.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will field trips still be taken?

If school is in session field trips will be allowed as long as the destination location has not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19.  If parents do not feel comfortable sending their student on a field trip, the student will need to stay home that day.

What happens if a student at school gets sick? 

If a student starts to feel unwell while at school we will ask that student to go home immediately and will isolate the student away from the rest of the student body until that can be done.

Will the school provide lunch during a prolonged closure?

The USDA has indicated that they will provide a waiver allowing schools to provide grab-and-go meals for students during a prolonged closure.  We are waiting to hear the details of this measure and will update, as we received new information.  If it is possible to safely administer a lunch program, keep our lunch employees safe, and meet federal regulations, we will attempt to have some form of lunch.  Families should be prepared to find other avenues should the school not be able to provide lunch services during a closure.  If that were to occur, we will provide information regarding local and regional food pantries to those that may be in need.

How will this affect SAT delivery, Senior Projects, Concurrent classes, etc?

There are a lot of unknowns on all of these types of topics.  It will really depend on the timing and duration of a closure, should it happen.

What about the music and Lady Liberty tours?

We are currently working with the touring companies and local leaders of those tours to determine the best course of action and how pre-paid funds will be handled if these tours are cancelled. As soon as we have more information we will pass that along.

INFORMATIONAL LINKS

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Info

CDC--Coronavirus Information

DISTRICT CONTACT INFORMATION

For more questions regarding the coronavirus and how Preston School District is responding please email the Superintendent, Marc Gee, at marc.gee@psd201.org.