Officials of at least two Panhandle school districts have made decisions to cancel classes Monday due to the novel coronavirus, and one has already made the decision to start an extended closure this week.
Classes have been cancelled for Monday for students in Hemingford and Hay Springs according to posts on both districts’ Facebook pages. Kimball Schools will start an extendedclosure Tuesday, Mar. 17 through at least Mar. 30.
In a statement on the Hay Springs District website, administrators say “Out of consideration for our school community’s health and safety Hay Springs Public School will not be holding classes for students Monday, March 16th. Teachers should report at their regularly scheduled time and plan for a staff meeting at 7:40 a.m. The administration was made aware this afternoon of a student and parent being tested for the coronavirus. We will provide updates as they become available. Parents are encouraged to practice social distancing and keep your children at home.”
Kimball Supertinentdent Elizabeth Owen’s said in her statement:
The health and safety of our students, staff and the surrounding community is our highest priority. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to close Kimball Public Schools beginning on Tuesday, March 17, for a period of 9 school days, then reopening on Monday, March 30 if an assessment of the situation is favorable.
Our decision was made in collaboration with the Panhandle Public Health District and our school administrators. Our health professionals have a strong focus on “Flattening the Curve”. This means an effort to slow the rate of infection so that the number of people who will need hospital services remains in the range that our healthcare system can provide.
Although, we do not have a confirmed COVID-19 case in our community, we are concerned about our proximity to confirmed cases in several parts of Colorado. Those areas are where members in our community travel on a frequent basis. We have decided to act with caution and remain ahead of a potential outbreak that could result in the spread of COVID-19 in our community and could put a strain on our healthcare system.
In order to prepare for a school closure, Mary Lynch Elementary teachers have sent learning packets home for students to study and complete. At the Jr/Sr High School level, some of our teachers will provide educational opportunities for students through Canvas or Google Classroom and perhaps learning packets.
We plan to provide “boxed pick-up” meals for our students during the closure period. After we finalize the details of that program, we will publicize the information.
You will receive more information as we respond to this evolving COVID-19 situation. It is important that we all work together to determine the best solutions for everyone during this difficult time.