Thursday, October 29, 2020

October 29 Update: COVID-19 Data Dashboard


The weekly update to North Tama's COVID-19 Data Dashboard has been posted as of Thursday, October 29 at 2:43 p.m.. The dashboard can be accessed at this link, or by visiting the district website at www.ntredhawks.org and selecting "Data Dashboard" from the "Return to Learn" pull-down menu.  

Please note that there are tabs at the bottom of the dashboard.  While the most recent update is on the first tab, you may wish to click on the tabs for the previous weeks to compare prior weeks' data.  

This data represents a "snapshot in time" and is released approximately once each week. These numbers are constantly changing as individuals are tested, placed into quarantine, and released from quarantine. 


View the dashboard at this link

 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 15 Update: COVID-19 Data Dashboard

 The weekly update to North Tama's COVID-19 Data Dashboard has been posted as of Thursday, October 15 at 1:07 p.m.. The dashboard can be accessed at this link, or by visiting the district website at www.ntredhawks.org and selecting "Data Dashboard" from the "Return to Learn" pull-down menu.  

At the time of this release, there are no active cases of COVID-19 at the PK-6 level.  At the 7-12 level, the number of active cases is between 1 and 5.  (State guidance on confidentiality does not allow districts to release a specific number of cases when the number of cases is between 1 and 5.)  

No students or staff are currently in isolation or quarantine because of they have had close contact with a positive individual in the school setting.  Close contact is defined as persons less than 6 feet away from an infectious person for more than 15 consecutive minutes AND the infectious person, the close contact, or both were not wearing a face covering during the interaction. There are 18 individuals in isolation/quarantine because of contacts outside the school setting or for other, non-school related reasons.  

The dashboard is updated once each week.  In smaller school districts like North Tama, breaking down data into smaller groups such as grade levels or teams or providing updates more frequently than once each week may make certain individual cases easily identifiable, which may constitute a violation of FERPA. Families of students/staff that have come into close contact with a positive individual in the school setting will be notified by Tama County Public Health as soon as possible following identification of a positive case.

Please note that there are tabs at the bottom of the dashboard.  While the most recent update is on the first tab, you may wish to click on the tabs for the previous weeks to compare prior weeks' data.  

Please also note that this data represents a "snapshot in time" and is released approximately once each week. These numbers are constantly changing as individuals are tested, placed into quarantine, and released from quarantine.  

This dashboard is designed to share as much information as possible while protecting the privacy of those affected. We share this news with you so you can make well-informed decisions for your family.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Updated Return to Learn Plan: 7-12 Returning to 100% Capacity on Monday 10/19

 At last night's school board meeting, the board approved several updates to North Tama's Return to Learn Plan.  As part of this process, it was decided that North Tama's Jr./Sr. High School Building (grades 7-12) will return to 100% capacity this coming Monday, October 19

In addition to the return to 100% capacity, the changes in this updated plan include recently-released state guidelines related to confidentiality, parent notification, and modified quarantine requirements based on whether the individual(s) in close contact were wearing a mask. The updated plan now includes a measure that may return the whole district or an individual building to the 50% capacity hybrid plan for a two-week period depending on the number of active positives within the building. Additionally, the document provides clarification and updates to several components of the district’s plan including the selection of a learning model, parent notification of positive cases, face covering requirements, and procedures that will be followed when students and staff exhibit possible symptoms of COVID-19. 

Please keep in mind that additional guidance or directives from the state and our continually-changing local context may necessitate additions or changes to the district's plans.  It continues to be North Tama’s goal to follow practices and offer models of learning that will both educate our students and keep our students and staff healthy and safe during the current global pandemic.  

The updated Return to Learn Plan, approved by the North Tama Board of Education on 10/12/2020 can be viewed at this link the school website: Return To Learn Plan.  

Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 12, 2020 North Tama Board Agenda

 

The North Tama Board of Education will meet on Monday, October 12, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the North Tama Multipurpose Room.  Please click here to review the complete agenda, which includes information about participation in the public forum and the required self-health screening which must be completed prior to attending the meeting.  



Thursday, October 1, 2020

New Quarantine & Face Covering Guidance

 

Earlier this week, Governor Reynolds released new quarantine-related guidelines that apply to schools and childcare settings.  In short, the new guidelines state that persons in close contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus will not be required to quarantine if both individuals were wearing face masks. 

Close contacts within households and some other settings will still be required by Tama County to Public Health to quarantine for 14 days; however, the Governor’s new guidelines for schools and childcare settings will apply at North Tama and all schools around the state, effective immediately. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health has also clarified that plastic face shields alone are not sufficient to meet Governor Reynolds’ new quarantine guidance.  Therefore, North Tama is modifying our local guidelines to reflect this change.  Effective immediately, plastic face shields alone will not be considered an acceptable face covering at North Tama.  

Students and staff may still wish to wear a plastic face covering in combination with a cloth or disposable mask as an additional precaution.  The Governor’s office recently sent a shipment of plain white cloth masks to school districts across the state. If your child is in need of a mask from this shipment, please let us know and we will be glad to provide an additional mask while supplies last. The school will also continue to maintain a supply of disposable masks.  

The attached infographic provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health describes the new quarantine guidelines.  




 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

North Tama’s K-6 Elementary Will Return to 100% Capacity October 1

 

      On Thursday, October 1, North Tama’s K-6 Elementary School will return to 100% capacity.  Elementary students from both the Red Team and the White Team will begin attending school on a daily basis starting on that day.  Preschool classes will return to full capacity during the week of October 5. Preschool parents will receive an email with a specific schedule in the near future.

      The 7-12 High School will continue to operate at 50% capacity with students attending in person on an every-other-day basis as has been done for the first four weeks of school.  This will continue through at least Friday, October 23, with a possible return to 100% capacity on Monday, October 26. 

      This decision is based on the decision-making metric adopted in consultation with Tama County Public Health as part of the district’s Return-to-Learn Plan. The plan states that in order for an attendance center to return to 100% capacity, two 14-day incubation periods must have passed without a student or staff member receiving a positive COVID-19 test result. At the elementary level, the metric has been met for a return to daily in-person learning. At the secondary level, the metric has not yet been met, and based on the timing of the positive cases at that level, the earliest possible date for a decision on a possible return to 100% capacity is Monday, October 19.  Secondary parents can expect an announcement on or before Tuesday, October 20.     

      As we make the transition to 100% capacity at the elementary level, parents are reminded that schools simply cannot guarantee that physical distancing will be met in all settings throughout the entire school day, during school activities, or in transportation systems. With all elementary students attending school daily, physical distancing will be more of a challenge than it has been during our first four weeks of school.  Our staff will do the best we can to ensure as much distancing as possible given the constraints of our enrollment numbers and the size of our classrooms.  

      Face coverings (mask or face shield) will still be required for the foreseeable future.  To help reduce mask fatigue, the staff will continue to provide mask breaks whenever possible, but at the elementary level these breaks may be less frequent due to the reduced ability to distance our students and staff.            

  For students at all levels, bus pick-up and drop-off times will change on October 1 when all elementary students are attending daily.  Parents received bus route details prior to the start of the year, and the school will be emailing this bus information again in the near future. Many bus parents have been helping to mitigate risk by volunteering to pick up and/or drop off their children at school whenever possible, thereby reducing the number of students on buses. This is very much appreciated and will be an even more important mitigation measure when more students are attending school in person each day.  

      The Remote Learning program will remain an option for students at all grade levels for the remainder of the school year. Some families may wish to transition their child(ren) to the Remote Learning program when their child’s building returns to full capacity, while other families may wish to move their child back to in-person learning at some point during the year.  While parents are encouraged to commit to an entire semester or an entire year in the program, please know that you may contact your child’s principal to discuss a possible change at any time during the year. 

      We would like to share three more important notes related to the current situation:

  1. The Return-to-Learn Plan (which includes the 50% capacity hybrid model and 100% capacity model as well as the decision-making metric for selecting a model of instruction) will be on the agenda of the October meeting of the North Tama Board of Education. The board may consider possible changes to the plan at that time. This meeting will be held on Monday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the North Tama Multipurpose Room. (Please note: The meeting is being held one week earlier than originally scheduled due to a conflict with 1st round regional volleyball on the originally-scheduled night of the meeting.)  District patrons are invited to observe the meeting and/or participate in the public forum. Details on how to participate in the public forum will be included with the meeting agenda, which will be posted on the North Tama Website no later than Friday, October 9.  
  2. The district is still seeking qualified substitute teachers, as well as substitute bus drivers, cooks, and others that may be available to step in to provide support in the event of staff illness or required isolation.  If at any point the school is forced to implement a short-term closure due to the inability to fill key staff positions, the governor’s proclamations do not allow for school districts to transition to remote learning during this type of closure; therefore, those school days would just be canceled and made up at a later time.  If you or someone you know would be qualified and interested in being added to our list of substitute teachers or staff, please contact the main office for an application.  
  3. A recent governor’s proclamation does allow for a school to transition to short-term remote learning on days when school needs to be canceled due to weather-related safety issues.  Therefore, for the remainder of this school year, any day that school would be canceled for a weather-related reason (such as excessive snow or ice) will be a remote learning day for all students.

      Please monitor your child diligently for symptoms of COVID-19. If you notice symptoms, please keep them at home, away from others, and only leave home to seek medical attention/testing after consulting with your healthcare provider by telephone first.  


PDF Version of This Announcement


Friday, September 18, 2020

September 21, 2020 North Tama Board Agenda

 North Tama Board of Education

Monday, September 21, 2020

7:00 p.m. - Jr. High Commons


NOTE

  • Attendees are asked to maintain a 6 foot separation from others before, during, and after this meeting.  
  • Face coverings are required. A meeting attendee may remove his/her face covering when seated and when a 6-foot social distance can be maintained.  
  • Some Board members may participate via conference call as per Iowa Code Section 21.8 which permits a governmental body to conduct a meeting by electronic means. 


PRE-MEETING SELF SCREENING:

Please do not attend the meeting if you have any symptoms on the list of “HIGH RISK SYMPTOMS” below, or if you have two or more of the symptoms on the list of “LOW RISK SYMPTOMS” below:

High Risk Symptoms (Have one of these symptoms?  Do not attend.)

    • New cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • New loss of taste or smell

Low Risk Symptoms (Have two or more? Do not attend.)

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle and body aches
    • Fatigue
    • Sore throat
    • Runny Nose
    • Congestion
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea

Public Comment 
The board welcomes comments from district patrons and encourages regular communication with the citizens of the school district. Patrons wishing to participate in the Public Forum are encouraged to contact the superintendent or board secretary at least 24 hours prior to a board meeting to be added to the agenda.  

Patrons wishing to comment in the Public Forum who have NOT made prior arrangements with the superintendent or board secretary are asked to complete a “Sign-Up for Public Forum Comments” form (available at the door prior to the meeting) and return it to the superintendent before the board president calls the meeting to order.  

In consideration for others attending the meeting and time restraints, the board asks that individuals limit their comments to (3) minutes or less. If you believe further discussion is necessary, we encourage you to contact the school administrator or staff member most knowledgeable with or responsible for your area of interest or concern. 

The board will also accept written public comments from patrons who are unable to attend the meeting in person and/or patrons who desire to limit their possible exposure to COVID-19.  Written public comments will be read aloud during the board meeting, with the same 3-minute time limit that is allowed for in-person public comments.  Email written public comments to david.hill@ntredhawks.org no later than 6:55 p.m. on Monday, September 21; please include the words PUBLIC FORUM COMMENTS in the subject line.  Be sure to include your full first and last name as well as your postal address in the body of your email so that the sender can clearly be identified as a district patron.  

Your interest in our students and our school system is appreciated.

Agenda
Click HERE to view the complete agenda.