Alert

School Closure Extended by Governor Reynolds

On Thursday, April 2nd, Governor Reynolds ordered an extension to the school closures through April 30th. This means our CRCSD buildings and schools will...
 

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Updates

   
Date of Updates
 
03/24/2020 11:30 am 03/22/2020 4:00 pm 
03/20/2020 5:00 pm  03/18/2020 9:00 pm 
03/17/2020 10:00 pm  03/17/2020 2:30 pm 
03/15/2020 10:55 pm  03/13/2020 2:00 pm 
03/13/2020 10:30 am 03/12/2020
03/11/2020
   

UPDATES FOR 3-24-2020, 11:30 AM

CRCSD Families,

We worked last week to ensure we had a plan in place for the most urgent need of food distribution for children who rely on the daily meals they receive at school. Yesterday we served 3,476 meals to children from our nine sites throughout the city. We’ll be working hard to continue to provide this resource to our community throughout the district closure. 

ACADEMIC RESOURCES AND UPDATES
The Iowa Department of Education has postponed state assessments until further notice.

We have prioritized creating opportunities for families to access learning opportunities and academic resources during the closure:

Beginning this Wednesday, March 25, printed academic resources for K-8 students will be distributed to families once per week at the nine food distribution sites. 

Families may contact our Community Relations Office at communityrelations@crschools.us or 319-558-2124 to request these K-8 materials be mailed home.

Additionally, families can access academic resources for all grade levels on our district website.

All academic resources we provide should be considered optional opportunities to keep students intellectually engaged. 

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS/SENIORS
We understand that high school seniors and their families are experiencing a unique level of stress and uncertainty. Topics of concern for high school families and especially seniors include concurrent enrollment courses, Advanced Placement courses and testing, ACT, graduation requirements, prom, credit recovery, extracurricular activities, and online learning. These themes are also top of mind for us. To a significant extent, all Iowa school districts must rely on and await guidance from the Iowa Department of Education (DE) regarding these themes. We expect updates within the next 48 hours from the Department of Education and will then move forward with a plan, informed by their direction, as quickly as possible. We will continue to communicate with you as that guidance is provided. 

COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
Perhaps you would find it reassuring to know that several daily meetings are held as a joint effort between dozens of entities to align needs and resources in our community. Much of what emerges from these meetings inform our decisions as a district and community partner: Joint meeting between Superintendent Bush and all other Linn County Superintendents as well as all Linn County Mayors, City Managers, City Council representatives, Supervisors, EMA, Public Health, Sheriff's Office, CRPD, and CRFD. The focus is on ensuring all are aligned based on county, community, district, city needs and collaborative efforts.

Department of Education webinar with DE and Superintendents.

CRCSD Task Force involving 25 District administrators and team members to be briefed on Superintendent Bush's earlier meetings and to address such topics as food/nutrition; physical safety; mental, emotional, physical health; academics; transportation; staff, family, student needs; communication.

Press Conference involving Superintendent Bush and/or GWAEA’s John Speer (representing Linn County schools), and representatives from entities of the 9am meeting. The press conference is live streamed by our local media outlets, including KCRG.

Joint meeting with GWAEA area Superintendents which includes districts outside of Linn County (such as Iowa City).

This is truly a community effort and the communication to CRCSD staff and families is informed by the developments and updates from these meetings. Often, there is much more being discussed that is not yet developed enough to incorporate in updates to CRCSD staff or families. Please know our priority is to provide families with the resources you need to support the academic, socio-emotional, and physical well-being of the child(ren) and teenager(s) in your care during the district closure. Again, we will continue to communicate specifically regarding families’ academic questions as we receive guidance from the Department of Education.

Thank you,
Akwi Nji, Director of Communications

*All communications to families are being translated in Spanish, French, and Swahili and disseminated to target audiences.

UPDATES FOR 3-22-2020, 4:00 PM

Dear CRCSD Families,

In this communication you’ll find important updates regarding food distribution sites as well as academic resources to keep the child(ren) and/or teenager(s) in your care academically engaged during the CRCSD closure.

FOOD AND NUTRITION
Beginning tomorrow, Monday, March 23, the following sites will distribute meals to anyone 18 years old and younger: Arthur, Cedar River Academy (Taylor), Grant, Grant Wood, Hoover, Johnson STEAM Academy (JSA), Nixon, Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy (RCCBA), and Wright.

  • Meals will be distributed from 10:30am-1:00pm.
  • Bagged meals will be served as grab-and-go; neither students nor accompanying adults will have access to buildings during this time.
  • Adults and students who arrive in vehicles will stay in their vehicles and volunteers will run bagged meals to vehicles.
  • Families who walk to sites (rather than drive) should maintain 6’ distance from one another while waiting.  Cones will be set up 6’ apart to help with this.
  • Families and students can go to any site for meals, regardless of their attendance school.

There is no way for us to predict what the demand will be at each site. If we run out of meals on the first day, we will adjust accordingly and be better prepared the following day(s). Please be patient; we will work through this together.

Other organizations that families can receive meals from include:
Food Banks (Enter your zip code at “Find Your Local Food Bank”)
HACAP
United Way

ACADEMIC RESOURCES
CRCSD teachers are pleased to provide academic resources and learning activities to our families. (Please note that per the Department of Education guidelines there can be NO REQUIRED instruction, only suggested activities.) You may access these academic resources on our COVID-19 landing page HERE under “Academic Resources”. This landing page is designed to serve as your one-stop shop for up-to-date information on Food and Nutrition, Academic Resources, Health Services (including mental health resources), and general COVID-19 + CRCSD News and Updates. 

We’ve also collaborated with local school districts and partnered with The Gazette to offer printed resources in the weekly Penny Saver (delivered to homes on Wednesdays). Additionally, your child(ren)’s instructors may reach out via phone call or email to provide academic experiences and to touch base in the spirit of socio-emotional well-being.

On behalf of Superintendent Noreen Bush and the CRCSD community, thank you for entrusting us to support the young people of our great community, and thank you for your continued partnership to support the academic, socio-emotional, and physical health of our entire CRCSD and CR community.

Akwi Nji, Director of Communications

UPDATES FOR 3-20-2020, 5:00 PM


Dear CRCSD Families,

Hello. This is a message to all families in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. Although you have received email communications regarding this matter, we’re utilizing a variety of communication platforms to ensure every single family is reached with this information. all district schools and offices are closed through April 12th in a unified effort to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Communications are being sent via email and posted on FB, Instagram, and Twitter. The most critical information will also be disseminated via phone calls such as this one. Thank you for your understanding and your efforts to support our community in this time. Be well and safe.

Akwi Nji, Director of Communications


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UPDATES FOR 3-18-2020, 9:00 PM


Dear CRCSD Families,

As always, thank you for all efforts you're making to ensure the safety and health of your loved ones and all in our community.

HEALTH SERVICES
By now, all families for whom this applies should have received phone calls from their student’s school regarding pick-up of student medications. If you are a family that should have received a phone call and have not, please contact Sandy Byard at sbyard@crschools.us.

FOOD AND NUTRITION
Johnson STEAM Academy has been added as a food distribution site. We have received inquiries from internal and external stakeholders regarding the rationale for the location of our food distribution sites. 

Please understand that a significant number of factors were considered in this process. We began with focusing our application to the Iowa Department of Education’s Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services on schools that served as summer meal sites for us last year. Beyond that, the primary and most immediate focus was to: 1) ensure all four quadrants were covered; 2) ensure we didn’t exceed the number of sites that could be adequately staffed by those on our Food and Nutrition team (and who are willing to possibly compromise their own health in this effort); 3) adhere to state and federal guidelines regarding food distribution. 

We will continue to design procedures to ensure our families most in need have access to nutritious meals.

If you are not already following us on social media, you can find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @CRSchools. Updates are shared on social media as well as on our website.

On behalf of Superintendent Noreen Bush and CRCSD, please know that we wish for your top priority to be ensuring the safety and health of your family and loved ones.

Best,

Akwi Nji, Director of Communications
 

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UPDATES FOR 3-17-2020, 10:00 PM

Dear CRCSD Families,

We realize we communicated to you most recently that you would hear from us again yesterday after Governor Reynolds’ remarks. We apologize that this additional communication is being sent later than we’d planned, but we wanted to ensure we were taking appropriate time to provide you with information that would be helpful to you for its accuracy and content.

As you perhaps know by now, Governor Reynolds declared a state of emergency earlier today.

We understand you have many questions as a family – not only about your child’s academic schedule but also about your family’s well-being. These are incredibly dynamic and complex times. While our relationship to you – and one which we honor deeply – is as an educational institution, we’re all working in the context of our role as educators to prioritize the emotional and physical well-being of the members of our CRCSD community and the greater Cedar Rapids community while also supporting learning and academic growth.

ACADEMICS

  • Classes in the Cedar Rapids Community School District will reconvene no earlier than April 13th.
  • The three weeks of instructional time that we will miss after spring break will be forgiven by the State.
  • There shall be no required online instruction taking place during the three weeks after break.
  • High School families will receive more specific information regarding such concerns as credits, graduation ceremonies, AP testing, ACT, etc. We understand these are anxiety-producing topics and institutions across the state and country are working together to ensure students are not unfairly and negatively impacted by what has become a pandemic to which we’re all equally responding.

As Superintendent Bush announced in a meeting with CRCSD leadership this afternoon, “Right now, our priority is to save lives. As much as we’re in the learning business, as the fourth largest employer in the county and as a body that touches every single point in Cedar Rapids, we need to do our part to protect our students, families, employees, community, and ourselves.”

With that sentiment in mind, we are designing a website that will be updated daily and will house information and resources regarding Health Services, Food and Nutrition, Learning Activities, and General CRCSD Updates. In the meantime, please consider the following:

HEALTH SERVICES
Nurses, health secretaries, and building administrators will be working together to reach out to families whose students’ medications and supplies need to be retrieved from school for use after spring break.

FOOD AND NUTRITION
As a school district with more than 40% of our students qualifying for assistance with our meal programs, we understand the acute needs of our families who rely on the healthy meals provided at school daily. In light of that, we will open nine sites as food distribution sites: Arthur, Grant, Grant Wood, Hoover, Johnson STEAM Academy, Wright, Taylor, Roosevelt, Nixon.

  • Distribution times will be 10:30am-1:00pm starting on Monday, March 23
  • Anyone 18 and under may receive food at these sites
  • Meals shall be distributed at no charge
  • Meals will be distributed as grab-and-go (distribution methods will be designed to minimize person-to-person contact and students/adults will not be permitted to enter the buildings)
  • Meal bags will include lunch for the day and breakfast for the following day

LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Although there shall be no required instruction during the three weeks after spring break, we will be providing resources and learning activities on our website, via social media links, and perhaps even through the Penny Saver (we're collaborating with The Gazette and other local districts on this) to provide families with learning opportunities to keep students engaged and intellectually active. More information will be forthcoming.

On behalf of Superintendent Noreen Bush and the CRCSD community, thank you again for your patience as we all work together through this. May we all be servants of our community in this hour by working to minimize the spread of illness and supporting efforts to ensure our most vulnerable populations are cared for. Please remember to prioritize the health of your family and the health of others in our community. 

Thank you,
Akwi Nji, Director of Communications
 

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UPDATES FOR 3-17-2020, 2:30 PM

Health Services:
School nurses and health secretaries will be contacting parents/guardians to make arrangements to pick up medications and other health related supplies.

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UPDATES FOR 3-15-2020, 10:55 PM

Dear CRCSD Families and Staff,

As you may have seen tonight, Governor Reynolds has recommended that Iowa Schools close for 4 weeks in response to community spread of COVID-19. As a district, we will be following Governor Reynolds' recommendation. Governor Reynolds will be making an additional public announcement tomorrow and we will communicate with families again, following those remarks, with details regarding how we will move forward together in the coming weeks. 

Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are likely and understandably high at this time as you wonder what next steps shall be for our students, staff, community and for the health and safety of those in your immediate family. I assure you that the safety and health of our Cedar Rapids Community School District family and supporting our entire Cedar Rapids community is our greatest priority in these times.

Our district leaders have been working closely with state, county, and city officials to determine best steps to support the safety and health of our community. We have also been collaborating with other school districts to make decisions, informed by guidance from Linn County Public Healthy and now by Governor Reynolds' recommendations. We will be working to communicate more details to families and staff regarding our next steps as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. We are a strong, vibrant, supportive community. It will be crucial that we work together through these unprecedented times. Please look for a more detailed follow-up communication regarding next steps to be sent to families and staff following the Governor's comments tomorrow.

Thank you,
Noreen Bush, Superintendent

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Updates for 3-13-2020, 2:00 PM
 

Dear CRCSD Families,

I hope you have plans to spend time with your kids next week. We know that recent events regarding the COVID-19 have escalated concerns. Here are some notes regarding measures CRCSD is taking.

  • our district website will continue to house COVID-19 updates
  • daycare programs will continue to operate over spring break
  • no activities or practices will take place over break for deep cleaning purposes

In addition, please see the attached letter from our Metro-Area Superintendents regarding the guidance we are using to determine school closures. We care deeply for the safety and health of all of our students, families, staff members, and community. We will continue to monitor all information provided to make the best decisions possible for our school district. 


Metro-Area Letter 


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Updates for 3-13-2020, 10:30 AM
 

Coronavirus facts and spring break travel update


Spring Break Travel

There are no travel advisories or restrictions pertaining to COVID-19 within the United States. However, at this time, Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in nearly 100 countries and 35 states, including Iowa. There are restrictions for international travel in countries that have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (widespread, ongoing transmission):

  • China
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City

Before traveling, be sure to stay informed. For the latest information, please visit:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

At this time, schools are not responsible for screening or monitoring any staff or students coming back from travel. That is the responsibility of Public Health entities. 


Did You Know:

  • There are multiple forms of Coronavirus, only 7 can infect humans.
  • Of the 7, 4 are associated with mild symptoms- the common cold- which most people in the world have been exposed to many times in their lives. This has been around for many years, it is nothing new.
  • The other 3 are:
    • MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)
    • SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)
    • And the current concern in the headlines: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
    • During cold and flu season, doctor's offices routinely perform nasal swabs to determine if a person has INFLUENZA. Doctor's offices are not routinely testing for COVID 19 at this time. You can be diagnosed with coronavirus with the regular nasal swab testing- but that coronavirus is the common cold and NOT COVID 19. 

 

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Updates for 3-12-2020, 12:30 PM
 

We are aware that many in our community are anxious about the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in our country and in Iowa. Currently, there are 14 cases identified in Iowa. All 14 people who have been diagnosed were passengers on the same cruise ship in Egypt. As of right now, there has been no spread to the community and no cases have been identified in Linn County. For Iowa COVID testing updates please visit the website:

https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus  

 

Important things to remember:
 

  • If you or your child exhibit symptoms of fever and cough, it is much more likely to be influenza than Coronavirus. Please contact your health care provider if you are concerned about an illness in your family.
     
  • As of today, there have been no recommendations from Public Health for schools to cancel school events or field trips. For people at high risk, the elderly and those with underlying chronic health conditions, The CDC recommends:
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  
    • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.  
  • If a case of COVID were to be diagnosed in a student or staff member in our district, Public Health would lead the investigation, response and make recommendations for containment. 
     


Take everyday preventive actions:
 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc.
  •  Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.


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updates for 3-11-2020, 3:00 PM

 

The Iowa Department of Health has reported several cases of COVID-19 in Iowa. COVID-19 has infected very few children worldwide, and the symptoms in children have been reported to be mild in the majority of cases. It is important to remember that seasonal influenza is widespread in our community, and preventative measures to minimize or prevent the spread of all viruses remains a top priority:

  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can and wash your hands.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday: High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Stay home and out of public places when you are sick.

When a student with symptoms of illness comes to the health office, the school nurse and/or health secretary assesses that student’s symptoms. Students will be sent home when:

  • The student has a temperature of 100.4º F. or higher. Students must be fever free for 24 hours, without fever reducing medication, before returning to school.   
  • Students without a fever, but are experiencing significant symptoms of illness, such as respiratory difficulty, or other symptoms which impair the student’s general functioning will also be sent home.
  • If your student has a fever AND respiratory symptoms (cough/breathing difficulty), call your regular healthcare provider.  DO NOT GO to a clinic or hospital without first calling ahead. All people with these symptoms should stay home and out of public places.
  • PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION IS UP-TO-DATE IN INFINITE CAMPUS.


BE PREPARED

  • If you have a student who takes medication at school, please make sure you have an extra supply of medications at home. You may want to contact your prescriber to ask about having extra medications available. Your school nurse or health secretary will contact you to discuss how you want your child’s medications handled in the event of a school closure or an extended absence.
  • If you have a student who has a health condition which requires supplies, such as diabetes, you should contact your health care provider to make sure you have enough supplies at home to last an extended length of time.
  • If you have a student with a chronic health condition that may put them at a higher risk of complications from a respiratory (lung) illness, please contact your health care provider for their recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure and health complications.


IN THE EVENT OF A CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19 IN OUR DISTRICT


Notification of confirmed pandemic or infectious disease threats to the district will come from Linn County Public Health (LCPH). CRCSD will collaborate with LCPH to monitor disease outbreaks in our schools and to determine if and when school should be canceled. The information provided by LCPH will also guide CRCSD decisions on the length of time for a school closure and the extent of the closure (single school closure, neighboring schools, partial district, entire district, etc.), taking into consideration the mixing of students/staff across schools, geographic proximity, outbreaks at neighboring school districts, etc. 

Our plan addresses many details, including continuity of education. Those details will be released if/when school closure is recommended.

 

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL

There are no travel advisories or restrictions pertaining to COVID-19 within the United States. However, at this time, Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in nearly 100 countries and 35 states, including Iowa. Before traveling, be sure to stay informed. For the latest information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html



For more information about COVID-19 please visit the following websites:

https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

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