JFK Lunch Program Resumes, and Free Lunches to Continue
Our lunch program will resume on November 30th. Thank you for your cooperation during its closure.
Free school lunches for all students will now continue through the end of the school year or until federal funding runs out.
K-8 One to One: Take Devices Home Daily
Grades K-8 are now one-to-one with iPads or Chromebooks. Students will be taking their devices home daily so they can be used, as needed, both at school and at home. Internet filtering on school devices continues in all locations, but, of course, please make sure you monitor what students do on all of their devices. Things can still get through the filters, and what the filters do not block, you may still not consider appropriate for your own children, according to their ages, your family’s preferences, etc.
A big shout out goes to Dianne Siefers, our technology coordinator. She has been working crazy hours to roll out new equipment and keep staff and students supported. Thank you, Ms. Siefers! We’d be lost without you!
Students to Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
First Reconciliation options are Thursday evening and Saturday morning for those receiving the sacrament for the first time and their families. JFK students in grades 3-8 will receive the sacrament in a socially distant manner on Tuesday. We will have four stations set up: the sacristy, “servers'” room, gathering space, and gathering space meeting room. Using these locations will allow privacy but also plenty of space for the student and priest. If we run out of time for all students, Fr. Jake and/or Fr. Scott will continue on a later date.
Civic Oration Looks a Little Different this Year
How we do civic oration in grades 5-8 will also look a little different this year due to COVID-19. We will use large spaces for the first round: church, gym, and parish center. Fifth graders will give their speeches on the following day, in order to use one of these larger spaces. There will be no second round of competition. The final or “parish center” round will not be in front of a large live audience. Finalists will compete from the church, and we’ll use our livestreaming and recording capabilities. Judges will view the recorded speeches over Christmas break.
Davenport Community School District Continues Online
The DCSD’s application to extend their 100% remote learning was approved for two weeks. They will be 100% remote through December 16th.
We Made It Through Thanksgiving
We made it with face-to-face instruction through Thanksgiving! That feat should not be downplayed, especially with the staffing challenges we faced over the last two weeks! Our next challenge will be with another anticipated surge after the Thanksgiving holiday. While JFK’s attendance rates may stabilize a bit at the beginning of the week with some people returning from vacation and others ending their quarantining periods, I anticipate absences increasing as the week progresses. Days 4-7 after an exposure to COVID-19 seem to be when symptoms begin. The question will fast become, “Can we make it until Christmas?” Many of our conversations and preparations are to make sure we can be ready to go to 100% remote for entire classes or the building, if we don’t make it. Please start thinking about what your plans would be until Christmas break, if your students cannot continue with face-to-face instruction.
JFK Specific Data on Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Here’s what we had at JFK on Friday, November 20th. The percentages are based upon the number of staff and students that are expected to be in the building; they do not include those who have chosen to do long-term remote learning. Slight variations in past data from previous Principal Posts may occur due to coding updates. Notice that while the percent of people who are “sick” is rather low, the percent of people required to quarantine continues to rise.
Percent of students and staff absent due to COVID or COVID symptoms (and getting tested): 1.03%. November 20: 3.13%. November13: 0.25%
Percent of students and staff absent due to other illnesses that we have to report to the health department, which includes gastrointestinal and respiratory issues (the types of things for which you give symptoms when you call your student in “sick”): 0.78%. November 20: 1.20%. November 13: 1.49% These numbers are probably pretty small because just about everything seems to be a COVID symptom.
Percent of students and staff absent because they are, thus, “sick:” 1.81%. November 20: 4.34%. November 13: 1.74%
Percent of students and staff absent who are quarantining because they were close contacts to a positive COVID case and required to quarantine: 8.27%. November 20: 5.54%. November 13: 3.72%
Percent of students and staff absent who are voluntarily quarantining because they may be a close contact if the person with whom they had close contact receives a positive test result or for other voluntary reasons: 4.13%. November 20: 1.20%
Total percent of students and staff absent because they are “sick,” required to quarantine, or voluntarily quarantining: 14.21%. November 20: 11.04%
Percent of students and staff who are absent for other reasons, including vacations, funerals, appointments, transportation issues, needing a mask free day, unknown, etc.: 8.53%. November 20: 3.62%
Total percent of students and staff expected to be in the building but were absent: 22.74%. November 20: 14.70%. November 13: 10.42%
In addition, we have 8.56% of the student body doing long-term remote learning and not expected to be in the building. That figure has grown from 6.80% on November 20th and 4.53% on November 13th.
Scott County Data
For those keeping up with some of the data I’ve reported regularly for Scott County, see the below. The health department cautions, however, that the COVID numbers are going to be skewed in many directions due to the holidays. There will likely be low reported numbers as test sites and labs were closed for the holiday followed by a spike as test sites and labs reopen and clear the backlog.
- As of November 25th, Scott County’s 14 day average for new cases was at a RATE of 1,975 per 100,000 persons down from 1,989 the previous week.
- The 14 day positivity rate calculation used by the Department of Education for Scott County is at 20.2% today, which is down two weeks in a row.
- The percent of hospital beds used for COVID patients is at 30%, down from last week’s 33%.
- According to the CDC’s document regarding the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools (see the link below), the risk of transmission in Scott County schools continues to be in the highest levels of risk according to two of the primary indicators: the number of new cases per 100,000 population and the positivity rate. The secondary indicators are more volatile. Any downward movement in the percent change in number of new cases per 100,000 is considered good news, for example, even if the raw numbers are way too high. The hospital metric for total beds in use is also impacted by actions that hospitals are taking, like putting multiple patients in the same rooms, cancelling overnight procedures, converting wards from one usage to COVID use, and doing more extensive “home monitoring” of patients to try to keep people out of the hospital if they don’t need to be seen and yet into the hospital sooner if their symptoms do warrant it. Even with these actions, 30% of all hospital beds in Scott County are being used by COVID patients.
Last week I stated that, due in part to the changing situation with the hospital information and the access to this information being only weekly, we have made a change to the metrics shared with you regarding building/grade level closures and face covering requirements. We shifted the community spread metric for a face covering requirement to just the 14 day county positivity test rate, a data point always available to us. When I re-typed it, however, I inadvertently switched from a figure related to the CDC indicators document to a Department of Education figure. I have made that correction in the document linked below. I have also tried to be more specific regarding which data points we are using: all illnesses; all illnesses and required quarantining; COVID or its symptoms; and all illnesses and required and voluntary quarantining.
Note: Building/grade level closures would probably need the thresholds to be hit for a few days in a row or with an average before action is taken. Everyone might need a little advance notice anyway! The threshold figures also do not include those who are not expected to be in the building because they have chosen long-term remote learning.
Thanksgiving Food Color Day Was Fun
Dress in the color(s) of your favorite Thanksgiving food was a blast and led to some great conversations. I was mashed potatoes and cranberries with my white shirt and dark red tie. Our winning homeroom, which received bragging rights and the “golden star,” was 3W.
Online JFK Spirit Store
Click HERE for the online JFK spirit store developed by Home & School. Winter hats and scarves are now available, as well as some great stocking stuffer ideas.
Virtual Book Fair
It doesn’t look like we’ll be able to have our annual book fair during Catholic Schools Week in January. Instead, we are hosting an online book fair before Christmas.
Shopping for books for your children for Christmas? Come see our online Scholastic holiday book fair. Our online book fair will be available starting Monday, November 30th through Friday, December 11th. Purchases will be shipped directly to your home. A portion of sales goes to JFK and allows us to buy new books for our library.
Mississippi Valley School Tuition Organization (STO)
More than 620 students in Scott County are benefiting from financial assistance through the Mississippi Valley School Tuition Organization (MVSTO). In order to provide the level of financial assistance needed, donations are needed each year. Donations to the MVSTO are great because they benefit both students and donors. Students receive the financial assistance needed by their families so they can attend Catholic/private schools, and donors receive a 65% tax CREDIT, not deduction, off of their Iowa taxes, AND the other 35% is a charitable deduction on their federal taxes. A $100 donation to the MVSTO, for example, allows one to reduce one’s Iowa tax bill by $65, and, at the 32% federal income tax bracket, one might be able to reduce one’s tax bill by about $11. If you follow the math, a student receives the $100 benefit in financial assistance while the donor has a net cost of, not $100, but only $24!
Donations for this year’s taxes must be made by December 31st. Act now! Use the following link for more information and the forms needed: https://www.mvsto.org/
What I Learned This Thanksgiving
- Some traditions can continue during COVID: having the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and National Dog Show on the TV in the background, good food and football in the afternoon, and a “gathering” of family, even if only by Zoom.
- Thanksgiving dinner is just as good without turkey.
- Whether there’s just two or 42 for Thanksgiving dinner, I can still overeat.
- Thanksgiving dinner for two people yields lots of leftovers, and I can continue to overeat.
- I don’t miss Black Friday at all.
- Not mixing households was a good idea. Of the approximately 40-50 people we’d normally meet with over Thanksgiving:
- One was voluntarily quarantining due to a possible exposure
- One was self-isolating while waiting for test results
- One lost the sense of smell Thanksgiving night, and Friday’s test results came back positive