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South Tama Supt. Smith update on school - Coronavirus

March 12, 2020
Special to The Chroncile / News-Herald , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Greetings STC Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

Here at South Tama County the health, safety, and general well-being of our students and staff is our number one priority. With the ongoing situation related to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), I want to take a moment to bring you up to speed on where our school district stands in dealing with these continuing circumstances.

First, I hope you had a chance to read the Coronavirus Letter I sent last week. This document was shared by email, text message, and was also shared on our district website. Clearly, the situation has intensified since this last communication. Colleges have closed campuses, sporting events have been cancelled, and stores are running low on supplies. In fact, every time I refresh my social media feed, another major announcement is made.

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I want to be transparent in that K-12 schools are in a tricky spot when it comes to responding to this situation. In addition to our goal of keeping students and staff members safe, we understand we have a social responsibility to provide an education to our students. The unprecedented developments of the Coronavirus Disease make it challenging for our district to balance both of these objectives. To ensure we are meeting both health and educational demands, our district has been in frequent communication with school agencies (Iowa Department of Education & Central Rivers AEA) and health experts (Tama County Public Health & Iowa Department of Public Health) for the purpose of receiving guidance for how to proceed.

Our district has taken steps to incorporate preventative measures to address this situation. In addition to the specialized training they received this past week to adequately disinfect our classrooms and high traffic areas, our custodial crew will also be completing a deep clean of our buildings and school buses over the three day weekend (recall there is no school on Friday, March 13th). Our nurses have participated in webinars and other meetings designed to provide them with the knowledge and skill to address any health situations that may arise within our student body. Furthermore, our administrators have been provided with ongoing information and guidance regarding the Coronavirus Disease. Overall, I feel very good about the precautionary steps our district has taken.

As has been shared before, we recommend our community follows the steps below to prevent the spread of illness:

Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.

Finally, I want to be clear that circumstances are rapidly developing and it is nearly impossible to determine what the next several weeks will bring. My hope is that we can continue with school as normal and that our kids have a great start to the 4th quarter. However, the reality is there is no way to predict what new developments may occur. In any event, our promise to you is that we will continue to use clear, timely, and transparent communication about the situation as well as keep the health and safety of our students and staff our top priority.


Dr. Jared Smith

Superintendent - South Tama County



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