From the Superintendent's Desk

Parents & Patrons-

Last weekend, the COVID-19 virus, typically referred to as the coronavirus, caused the first school in the state of Nebraska to shut down. Fremont Public Schools will be closed for a period of two weeks, beginning on March 9th and continuing through March 22nd. With the recent closure of Fremont Public Schools, I wanted to provide you and your students with some reminders and information pertaining to COVID-19 virus and the school.

Our students are depending on us to make sure they are safe. Part of that responsibility is to pass along the proper information about the disease and how best to prevent it from spreading. There are some simple, everyday steps you can take to reduce your chances of exposure and to protect others. Fortunately, those steps are the same that you would take to prevent the flu, the common cold, and other respiratory illnesses:

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

· Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or sleeve) and throw the tissue away.

· Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

· Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including the flu vaccine, eating well, and exercising all help your body stay resistant to disease.

· Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US.

· Stay home if you are sick.

The school would like to place special emphasis on this last piece of advice. With the understanding that parents have jobs and that life needs to continue as normally as possible, with the virus looming, social distancing of those infected with the virus is the clearest and most effective way to present its spread. The typical symptoms of the coronavirus are shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and a moderate fever of 100.4 F degrees or greater. The school encourages parents of children who are exhibiting any number of these symptoms to exercise caution, when deciding whether or not to send their children to school. The school would ask the parents’ cooperation in keeping their student home from school to avoid potentially spreading the virus through the school system. The school would also ask that parents communicate with the school if their student contracts the coronavirus, as soon as practically possible, for the purpose of informing the school community and working with the health department to take all action required.

The school’s administration continues to work in partnership with the Two Rivers Health Department and the Nebraska Department of Education to monitor the situation at Ravenna Public Schools and in Buffalo County. Information regarding any potential school closure or cancellation of school activities, due to an outbreak of the virus, will be communicated through the school’s messaging system and through the NTV website.

Given the recent case of the coronavirus in Fremont this past weekend and the corresponding closure of Fremont Public Schools, I’ve been asked by several parents and community members about educational services for student K-12 during a school shut down of this nature. Some school officials across the state have suggested sending home assignments via the mail or by hand delivery for K-6 students and using “e-learning” for students in grades 7-12. Ravenna Public Schools would be in a position to facilitate such an action plan, in the event of a school closure. However, the administration feels the continuity and quality of instruction would be severely compromised, if such a plan were to be employed. The school would likely utilize a calendar adjustment and extend the school year beyond the currently scheduled last day for students of May 15th. If multiple school closures were made due to the virus, the school may then be forced to utilize another method for the delivery of instruction, such as the aforementioned ones described above.

The school’s goal is to actively monitor this situation, to work with Two Rivers Health Department, and to provide effective instruction and as much normalcy as possible for our students. This is a unique situation we find ourselves in, as a school community and as a nation. Please plan to be provided with timely and accurate information from the school, should the need arise.