Principal’s Post for February 14, 2021

Wind Chill Leads to School Closing

Due to the anticipated wind chill, JFK is closed on Monday, February 15, 2021.  ECLC is open.  All school events and practices are cancelled.  Although the DCSD will be doing a virtual day for the district, JFK still has enough instructional time that we will not need to have a virtual “inclement weather day.”

Given that we have now missed four days of face-to-face instruction and the DCSD has extended its school year until June 16th, we will likely be having a discussion at our next board meeting (March) about extending our school year with additional face-to-face instruction as well.

Kindergarten Round-Up, PS, and ECLC Registration for 2021-22

If you missed last week’s kindergarten round-up, 3-5 year old preschool or ECLC (childcare) registration, please contact the school office ASAP.  Information we receive from families is used to determine waiting lists, staffing levels, and the number of sections to operate for each grade level.  These decisions are often made before March.  We have, for example, already been looking at the student to staff ratio for ECLC in case we have more three year olds register for ECLC.

Without completed kindergarten round-up forms, there is no guarantee that kindergartners of current K-8 siblings will have spots available when we prepare the official tuition contracts for all families in the next few weeks.  Return the completed forms ASAP.

Winter Screenings Almost Finished — Remote Learners Need to Participate as Well

About 98% of our students have completed the winter academic screenings.  Looking at preliminary comparisons of reading between fall and winter, it seems to indicate that having kids in school is making a difference!

Long-term and temporary remote learners are also required to participate in all assessments.  If you haven’t done so yet or haven’t made arrangements with Kitty Temming, please do so ASAP.  The winter screening window closes soon.

Use Your Stimulus Funds for JFK Payments or a Donation to the Capital Campaign

Use your stimulus funds to pay for JFK tuition, childcare, or other fees.  If you are running into financial difficulties, please contact the school office and/or Fr. Jake so arrangements can be made.  We don’t want to have to talk about continued or future enrollment if we can avoid it by having a plan in place.

Consider a donation to our capital campaign.  The $1.6 million dollar campaign included $1.1 million for school HVAC work, $400,000 for other campus work to include HVAC work and a new sound system in the church, repairs to smaller church windows, and parking lot maintenance, and $100,000 for ministry work.  Just over $1.0 has been pledged so far.  We hope to do the HVAC work to the school this summer.  It includes heating pipes mitigation, mechanical ventilation, and air conditioning.  We are also now examining an option for air purification.  For more information about the campaign, use the following link:  capital campaign.

Bell Time Changes

Bell time changes, including the one hour early dismissal on Wednesdays, begin now on Tuesday, February 16th.  If your children ride a bus in the afternoon, expect them home about 25 minutes later than they currently arrive home.  Cross your fingers that it runs smoothly!

Below are JFK’s new bell times:

  • K-8:  7:25 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.  (Wednesday dismissal at 1:40)
  • Morning 4/5 year old PS:  7:25 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. (Wednesday dismissal at 9:55)
  • Afternoon 4/5 year old PS:  11:40 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Wednesdays:  11:10-1:40)

Three year old preschool times were not changed due to COVID and would stay at 7:25 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.

These bell times, again, begin Monday, February 15th.

COVID Data

Below is a link to a .pdf file that shows several graphs of Scott County and JFK data.

I’ll add a few comments below as well.

COVID Data, February 12, 2021

  • Last week, I reported that since the pandemic began, approximately 10.3% of Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19.  During the same period at JFK, we have had 12.8% of staff and 3.25% of students who have tested positive.  We are currently not aware of any transmission having occurred at school, and we have only had two situations where students or staff had to quarantine because they were close contacts while at school.
  • Field trips were discussed at our principals’ meeting on Friday.  At the present time, we are still not having field trips in at least K-8.
  • The training of future teachers was also discussed.  If we want to have future teachers, and Iowa, as well as the nation, is experiencing a teacher shortage, we need to continue to train them today, even if there is a pandemic occurring.  Any St. Ambrose education students who are in our building for student teaching or observation/practicum hours will need to follow the same safety guidance as our staff.
  • The CDC released a number updated guidelines last week, and the Iowa Department of Public Health was quick to follow with its own update of one guideline.  We will be examining this information to determine what, if any, updates will be made at JFK.

Chad