Principal’s Post for February 7, 2021

Welcome Back to Winter

I guess we should not have been taken too much by surprise by the weather and school closings these last couple of  weeks as it is still winter.  I think I’m just hopeful for most things to go by quickly this year, it seems, so things can get back to normal!

That change from a 2 hour late start to a full closure on Friday was awfully late.  Typically, when there’s bad weather predicted, I’m awake at about 4:30-5:00 a.m. as I can’t sleep and am just waiting for a decision by the Davenport Community School District.  The first message we received was just after 5:00 a.m. that it would “likely” be a two hour late start, but they were still out checking on the roads.  Then, we got the affirmative message for a two hour late start, and we sent our messages to families.  My guess is that as the bus company and the DCSD were later getting out into the more rural areas of the district around Walcott, Blue Grass, Buffalo, etc., they realized the buses would not be able to travel on the roads.  When our one Catholic school administrator received the official change from the DCSD, he was driving himself and couldn’t relay it to the rest of us.  I was doing the same.  I had been working from home early in the morning and was then on my way to school and didn’t get the message until about ten minutes later.  It then takes a couple of minutes to get the email, text, and phone messages set up and sent out.  Although I hit the “send” button for all three types of message at the same time, emails are delivered almost immediately, text messages take just a bit longer, and then all of the “robocalls” are completed.

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

“In-house” registration for 3, 4, and 5 year old preschool and daycare for OLV parishioners and current JFK community members begins on February 8th at 7:30 a.m.  Registration opens to the general public on February 11th.  Make sure you register right away as spots fill up fast, especially morning preschool spots.

Kindergarten Round-up will be adults only this year on February 11th.  The information session and round-up begins at 6:30 p.m. when it will be socially distanced in the gym.  This session is intended for those who have never been to a kindergarten round-up at JFK.  For those who have been to a JFK round-up in the past, round-up with forms only will take place any time between 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the cafeteria.

See the flyer for more information:  K, pre-school, daycare roundup flyer, 2021

Registration for students currently in grades K-7 will be in late February/early March.

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

We hope to finish our winter academic screenings soon.  Looking at preliminary comparisons of reading between fall and winter seem 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 make arrangements with Kitty Temming, please do so ASAP.  The winter screening window closes soon.

Catholic Schools Week Events to be Re-scheduled

We will re-schedule some of our missed Catholic Schools Week activities for the future.  I anticipate holding onto them for when we need a break later this semester.

Thank you to those who helped sponsor Catholic Schools Week with donations.  I believe we had a little over $800 in donations, and our costs were about $1,200.

Second Quarter Report Cards Emailed Friday

Second quarter report cards were emailed on Friday evening.  You can always check grades in JMC as well for at least grades 3-8.

JFK Parent/Teacher Conferences

K-8:  Drop-in K-8 parent/teacher conferences have been moved to Tuesday, February 9th from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Please wait on a green or black “dot” in the hallways.  Face coverings and social distancing are, of course, required for conferences.

4/5 Yr Old PS:

  • Conferences that had been scheduled to begin after 2:30 on Thursday, February 4, will be held at the same time of day but on Tuesday, February 9th.  If you are unable to do the same time on the 9th as on the 4th,  please contact Mrs. Blocker or Mrs. Zeimet.
  • Other PS conferences that had been scheduled for February 4th, and all conferences that had been scheduled for February 5th will need to be re-scheduled.  We will determine dates and procedures for those conferences.
  • Three year old preschoolers only have conferences in the fall and spring.

Use Your Stimulus Funds for JFK Payments

Use your stimulus funds to pay monthly tuition payments or the second payment for those doing their tuition in two payments or to get caught up if your financial situation this summer/fall caused you to fall behind.  All paid up?  Consider a donation to our capital campaign.  I’m sure parish leaders will be looking to see how many JFK families are willing to financially support the campaign too.  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 Coming

The Davenport Community School District administration is recommending to its board on Monday night a return to pre-COVID bell times.  The DCSD pre-board meeting materials also included the one hour early dismissal on Wednesdays, with the note that they may need to be discontinued later in the school year.  (I’m not sure what impact missing school Thursday and Friday might have on the Wednesdays.)

JFK’s own board approved our bell times also returning to the 2019-20 schedule, primarily to maintain bus transportation.  Below are the bell times that were used in 2019-20, and we will follow the DCSD for the Wednesdays as well:

  • Bell time for K-8:  7:25 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.  (Wednesday dismissal planned for 1:40)
  • Morning 4/5 year old PS:  7:25 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. (Wednesday dismissal planned for 9:55)
  • Afternoon 4/5 year old PS:  11:40 a.m. – 2:40 p.m. (Wednesdays planned for:  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 are scheduled to begin Monday, February 15th.

What Happened with the Bathrooms on Wednesday?

At about 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, we lost the water to the building and had to go to “emergency bathroom use only.”  At 1:00 p.m., just as we were about to fully implement our back-up plan for toilets, the water was restored.  The city was doing water work on 42nd Street and was able to better to isolate their work and turn our water back on.  I’m glad it was such a short disruption as you know exactly what happens when a bathroom is unavailable – suddenly you have to go!

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 5, 2021

  • 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.
  • Downward trends in Scott County continued this past week, and even the 14 day positivity rate the Department of Education uses dropped slightly again.
  • JFK’s own data, which is in our charts for Tuesdays and Fridays, is interesting.  The percentage of students and staff who were absent due to illness on Tuesday was 2.1%.  That’s not a large percentage, but it’s the highest it’s been since right before Thanksgiving.  All of Tuesday’s “illness” absences were either COVID or COVID symptoms related (and awaiting test results).
  • Given the above illnesses at JFK, one might expect that quarantining students and staff were also increasing.  On Tuesday, however, the percentage of students and staff absent due to required or voluntary quarantining (which often takes place when another family member is being tested) was at 1.86%, below our illness percentage.  One of the suggestions from this data is that there is not a lot of spread at school, and our mitigation strategies at JFK are working.
  • At JFK, we have a regular group of staff members (PDT) who meet weekly to discuss building-wide professional development and other concerns.  As you can imagine, this group has spent quite a bit of time discussing COVID related issues this year.  With our public school districts examining their mitigation strategies as they prepare to offer 100% in person instruction, we reviewed JFK’s strategies on Monday as well.  As I have mentioned before, sorting through the COVID guidance available is not always easy.  Even since we met on Monday, Governor Reynolds has issued a new proclamation that “loosens” things up in Iowa beginning today.  Her proclamation was countered by Bishop Zinkula’s reminder yesterday that “The protection protocols in the diocese have not changed.  Masks, 6’ social distancing between non-household members, hand sanitizing and sanitizing of surfaces continue to be required in well ventilated spaces.” The PDT recommended no changes be made to our current mitigation strategies, including our face coverings requirement.  At the OLV/JFK Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, the board specifically affirmed that recommendations from the PDT would be followed.  Our face coverings, social distancing, hand sanitizing, contact tracing and quarantining, etc. strategies will remain in place regardless of COVID numbers or positivity rate until the PDT recommends otherwise based upon our understanding and analysis of, hopefully, clear and consistent guidance from the CDC, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, Scott County Health Department, and Diocese of Davenport.

Don’t Forget Early Dismissal on February 12th

There is a regularly scheduled two hour (12:15) early dismissal on Friday, February 12th.  There are no afternoon preschool classes that day.

The 12th is also red, white, and pink dress days.  Students may be out of uniform if they are wearing red, white, and/or pink.

Catholic Schools Week Address

At the beginning of Catholic Schools Week each year, I give an update about Catholic School education and JFK.  You can find the ten minute message here:

 

Chad