As you are aware, we are in a very unique and rapidly changing situation with the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 within the state, nation and world. The most rapid and significant changes that have occurred deal directly with events and activities where large groups of people tend to gather. A variety of organizations such as the NSAA, NCAA, NBA, state agencies and others have made the tough decision to cancel numerous events across the state and country.
On Friday, Governor Ricketts released a plan for when a State of an Emergency might be declared and when schools will be required to close. At the time of this communication, that threshold has not yet been met. The Governor’s office and the Nebraska Department of Education have made it very clear, even though there may not be a required closure of schools, they will support any local decisions to close schools out of an abundance of precaution. They value our knowledge and our assessment of our local situation for our students, parents, faculty and community.
On Friday afternoon I participated in a webinar with KSB Law firm in which they covered several legal issues and hurdles schools will need to manage in the event of pre-cautionary or forced closures. On Friday evening, I met with the leadership team of the Chambers School Board and we discussed a variety of options for our students. We have formulated a road map to continue providing the best possible educational services due to this unique situation and we have a contingency plan in place if the district is forced into a closure situation.
Chambers Public School will remain in regular session with a normal schedule as much as possible. We are following guidelines from NSAA, NDE, CDC, Governor’s Office and the North Central District Health Department as far as canceling school events. Events that are localized to our area such as the Basketball Jamboree, prom, field trips and even graduation have been discussed with contingency plans put in place. Some of these events are several weeks away which will require us to evaluate each as the event approaches before making any decisions. Other events that are already upon us now have required decisions that will be communicated to parents, students, faculty and the community as quickly as possible.
IF the Chambers School District is forced to close, and depending on the length of that closure, we will use online learning formats to continue with the educational process for students in grades 7-12. Students without internet service or with marginal service will have learning packets mailed home with prepaid postage available for the return of work. Students in grades K-6 will have learning packets mailed home with prepaid postage available for the return of work. Special services and food services will be made available. The specifics of those services will be provided if a forced closure is required.
There is no vaccine currently for this virus. Recommendations from health officials continue to be: wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, cover your cough, and if you are feeling ill, stay home. The custodial staff at Chambers has been working diligently to keep high touch areas clean and sanitized using CDC cleaning guidelines.
If your son/daughter is feeling ill, please keep them home. Attendance regulations locally will be waived on an individual basis. We ask that you call the office to inform the school of any absence and will assist in working with the teachers to collect and prepare make-up work. As parents, you may want to exercise additional caution during this time of uncertainty and keep your child home. That is a parental right. Again, we ask that you contact the office and we will assist in working with the teachers to collect and prepare any missed work.
There is no playbook for this pandemic, and we continue to adjust to the information as we receive it. As the situation develops, we will communicate any additional information as quickly as we can. If you have any questions, please contact the school office.