If the writing wasn’t already on the wall, it was confirmed Tuesday evening that the Woodward-Granger school district will close its doors for the next four weeks in lieu of the nationwide spread of the coronavirus.
The decision came via an emergency school board meeting broadcasted via Facebook live stream abiding by social distancing etiquette.
Over the weekend, Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended that schools close for the next four weeks until April 13 to help flatten the virus’ curve. That evening, superintendent Dr. Matt Adams announced that all athletic practices and activities would be suspended until further recommendations are made by state and health authorities.
After further consideration, the decision to pause school (following Spring Break this week) was finalized to get everything in order involving guidance from the Department of Education, how hourly employees will be supported, and the role of the Hawks Nest to help the community during the ongoing crisis.
What you need to know:
School is canceled until April 12
Barring further setbacks imposed by public health recommendations, school doors are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 13. The motion carried unanimously.
This follows after the governor’s morning announcement to limit gatherings to a max of 10 people. Considering that buses of kids and class sizes well-exceed that number, Adams said that “really isn’t a recommendation anymore” and that it reaches a point where the schools “just can’t operate” to meet safety requirements. Additionally, these hours do not need to be made up for with additional summer dates as legislated by the house and senate.
At the moment, there is no idea from any governing source about what will happen should cancellation extend beyond the current target date.
The district cannot require online participation as governed by the Department of Education but teachers will encourage lessons through online work. Instructors will be provided a day for weekly work to put together resources and materials to keep their students as active as possible.
Additionally, Adams said he plans to record a series of videos to challenge students with fun activities to “keep connected but can’t gather.” Beyond education, the goal is to also help support the social and emotional needs in a unique situation.
Adams told the Perry Chief that teachers will primarily access Google Classroom and SeeSaw to connect with their families.
There are plans in place for a mobile food pantry to provide families that rely on school meals. A survey will be sent out to families to find how that needs to be handled and what each family is in need of, including how much is needed and how to receive aid. Adams said that multiple principals have offered to deliver meals if needed.
Hawks Nest will remain open for eligible families
Adams said that at the current state, the district’s daycare program plans to stay open to families that work in sectors deemed essential to the state. This includes hospital staff, child protective services, public health officials, tax collection, emergency responders and food service (i.e. grocery, limited restaurant staff).
If a student is from a single parent that works in any of those sectors, they are eligible for Hawks Nest services. If a student is from a family with two parents, both need to work in an eligible field.
Parents will be contacted Wednesday regarding eligibility.
After Wednesday’s planned Hawks Nest programming, it will be limited to eligible.
Employees will be paid
Salaried employees are not the only ones that will be taken care of. Adams said that hourly workers will also be paid.
While school doors will be closed, with all the resources the district will provide through food service, cleaning school buildings, running a pop-up library, or completing work that’s otherwise conducted in the summer, hourly employees may be able to help in other areas.