Fort Dodge Community School District Issues Covid-19 Update

The Fort Dodge Community SchooL District has issued the following Covid-19 update for the upcoming school year. The update is below.

We are excited to welcome our students back to our schools in just a few short weeks!  August 24th is the first day for TK- 12 grade students and preschool students will begin on August 30th.

As always, the health and safety of our students and staff is the number one priority. As we prepare for our students and staff to return, we wanted to take a moment to provide you with an update regarding our COVID-19 plans and procedures. We will continue to follow allowable mitigation strategies under Iowa regulations. Sources for these recommendations include the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Association of Pediatricians (AAP) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). We will continue many of the mitigation strategies we implemented last year, including:

  • Hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and a limited supply of PPE will be provided for staff and students as needed
  • In depth, daily cleaning by our custodians will continue with additional time for high touch areas
  • Buses will be disinfected after each use with an extra focus on high touch areas
  • Lunch tables will be disinfected after each lunch shift
  • Students will continue to have a Chromebook/iPad assigned to them to limit sharing of devices
  • Students will be encouraged to bring their own refillable, transparent water bottles

There have been some changes to COVID-19 guidance at the state level:

  • On May 20, Governor Reynolds signed a bill into law (HF847) that prohibits schools from requiring masks/face coverings. The District will not require the use of face masks in buildings. We are waiting for further guidance regarding the wearing of masks on buses. The option to wear a face mask in buildings will be left up to each individual staff member and to each family for their students. We do encourage masks to be worn, especially by those who are not fully vaccinated and in light of the changing information on the Delta and other variants.  
  • Contact tracing is no longer being conducted. The Webster County Health Department is still calling each person who tests positive to provide guidance, best practices and advice.
  • There is no longer a requirement to quarantine for exposure. Healthy students who choose to stay home if they have been exposed will be counted absent from school. Parents/guardians are encouraged to have open, timely communication with their child’s school regarding absences.
  • The District will no longer receive notice from the health department regarding students and staff members who test positive.  Therefore, we will not be reporting weekly case numbers to our families.
  • Students will not be put into A and B cohort groups for the purposes of COVID mitigation for the 21-22 year.  Middle school students will be put into cohorts so they are with the same kids throughout the day.
  • Current state law no longer allows for schools to switch between in person and online learning. This means snow days will not be virtual, but rather traditional with the day off and then made up at a later date.

The following are things you can do to help keep yourself, our students and staff, and our community safe:

  • Wash your hands frequently and cover your coughs
  • Stay home if you are sick. According to the health department, the best practice is for people who test positive or suspect they are positive due to symptoms, to stay home for 10 days.  Additionally, students must be fever free without the use of medication for 24 hours before returning to school. A fever is considered 100.4 degrees or higher.
  • Webster County Public Health recommends getting vaccinated if you have not already. For vaccination information call the county health department at 515.573.4107.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 activity in our area and guidance being provided by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Department of Public Health and changes to our procedures will be made as necessary in accordance with their guidance.

Again, we are looking forward to seeing our students back in our schools soon. Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe and healthy.

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