Principal’s Post for February 21, 2021

First Communion Meeting

The First Communion meeting for students and parents is February 28th in the church to allow for social distancing. The meeting is from 1:00-2:00.  There will be some practical information for this year and information to assist families with helping their children prepare for this special sacrament.

Sacrament of Reconciliation at JFK

Catholic students in grades 2-8 will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the school day on Tuesday.  Students of other religious backgrounds may choose to talk with a priest, if they’d like, and about 1/3 to 1/2 of these students do.

Adjustments to Our School Calendar Not Yet Decided

Last week I indicated that the DCSD has extended its school year until June 16th to make up for the three weather related closures prior to February 8th.  (After February 8th, all of the DCSD’s weather-related closures are virtual learning days for all students.)  Our board has not made any decisions yet about the school calendar itself.  The only decision our board made was that we would not have virtual inclement weather days as long as we had enough instructional time that we legally did not have to make it up.  Given the challenges of everyone, including teachers with their own children, having to switch to remote learning with notice sometimes as late as 5:30 or 6:00 a.m.  for inclement weather, we thought we could just let that option go.

JFK, like most schools/districts, has more instructional time than legally required.  When it comes to whether or not to make up inclement weather days, the question often isn’t just about meeting the legal minimum but about compromising the school’s/district’s normal standard.  JFK has made no decision on the school calendar itself.  We typically don’t make that type of calendar decision until we know what the DCSD is going to do (so we know what the bus transportation will be) and, hopefully, we are far enough into spring that we won’t have any more cancellations.

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

If you missed 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.

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.

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 19, 2021

  • The sources I have been using to prepare some of the Scott County information I’ve been sharing on a weekly basis changed the way they are reporting the information on Thursday or Friday.  I may have to change my information as well for the future.  For example, the state’s official site, https://coronavirus.iowa.gov, does not seem to be reporting a 14 day positivity rate by county any more.  They have switched to a 7 day rate.  This change is interesting as the guidance regarding how a district/school applies to go 100% virtual due to COVID is still based upon the 14 day positivity rate.  How a district/school accesses the 14 day rate any more is unknown.  Thankfully, almost all counties in Iowa were below the 15% positivity rate that can be used to help trigger an application to go 100% remote for two weeks when this data reporting change was made.    I have also used the following website as a back up source:  https://iowacovid19tracker.org/scott-county/    This site served as a good source for historical data as the state’s site only listed the most current data.  It, too, however, has changed its reporting.  It no longer shows the 14 day positivity rate calculation for counties/schools either.  It, in fact, now lists separately a 14 day PCR positivity rate and a 14 day antigen positivity rate.  A good mathematician will tell us that we can’t just add the two together to get an overall rate!
  • We are still reviewing some of the latest guidelines from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health to determine what, if any, updates will be made at JFK.  The most significant change will likely be to add the exemption that a fully vaccinated person does not need to quarantine if they are a close contact within three months of their vaccination as long as they do not show symptoms themselves.

Assumption Musical

Join the Assumption Knight Players as they present Shrek the Musical March 5, 6, and 7.  Shrek brings all the beloved characters from the film to life on stage and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears.  A limited number of in-person tickets will be available beginning February 22, or watch from the comfort of your couch with our live stream!  For all tickets, please click HERE.  Please Note:  No tickets will not be sold at the door.

Chad