Saint Patrick Catholic School and Gingerbread House Preschool announced that it will be closed for 4 weeks, which will include the planned spring break, to help limit the spread of COVID-19. This closure includes the before and after school child care program. Prior to the end of the 4 week period, the school said it will re-evaluate to determine if an extension is needed.

"We value the health and safety of our students, staff, and families as we continue to work with city officials and the Dallas County Health Department on the spread of COVID-19 in our community," Principal Kandice Roethler and Donna Bishop, Superintendent of Catholic Schools Diocese of Des Moines said in a letter sent out to parents.

St. Patrick School will be open from 8-10 a.m. on Monday, March 23 to allow parents and students to enter the building to check out a device if children do not have a computer or Chromebook at home. This time is not for regular operating hours. This will allow children to learn away from the school premises. Students can also pick up any textbooks they may need. 

The school also said it is working with Perry Community School on options for grab-and-go meals for students. A separate letter will be sent out to families with more details.

St. Patrick's staff will be using Bloomz to communicate daily learning opportunities for students starting on March 23.

While we cannot require it for students, we highly recommend that parents make their best effort to complete as much of the learning as possible," Roethler and Bishop said. 

The school added that the decision to close for 4 weeks was made after consulting with the Dallas County Emergency Response Team, with Public Health officials along with the recommendation of Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Please attempt to create a pattern to complete schoolwork, exercise and rest to remain healthy. If you need advice on how to talk to your child(ren) about COVID-19, please visit IDPH," Roethler said in the letter to families.

The school also asked the faculty, staff, families and community members to follow the recommendations from the Iowa Public Health Department (IDHP) and Dallas County Department of Health (DCDH).

"Please continue to educate your students on proper handwashing, social distancing and overall cleanliness. With schools closed, students should stay home and avoid social occasions. The CDC recommends that the best way to stop the spread in a community is to limit exposure to others. We will close for four weeks and re-evaluate at that time to determine the readiness to return to school," Roethler and Bishop said.

All activities and athletics will not meet during the closure. The school is closed to all activities except for the administration, maintenance team and office personnel. 

"It is important that we continue to exercise patience and support each other as we are experiencing this in our country," Roethler and Bishop said. "Please make sure that you are taking care of each other, checking on our neighbors and friends in need and offering prayers to those that are suffering. We will continue to keep you abreast of changes as they are made available to us."