Principal’s Post

Principal’s Post for January 17, 2021


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, January 15, 2021

  • The Scott County 14 day positivity rate the Department of Education uses is inching its way downward.  It was at 15.3% on January 6th, 14.5% on January 13th, and 14% today.  Hopefully, that trend will continue.  Maybe we’ll even be at the level where we can remove face coverings in the classrooms again!  (If you recall, our current rubric calls for the positivity rate to be at 10% or less for a week before we return to removing face coverings when at our desks in classrooms.)
  • Some of the discussion at the meeting with Scott County school administrators and health department officials concerned what might have to change if there is Iowa legislation passed that gives all parents an option for 100% face-to-face instruction.  For many schools and districts, the six feet social distancing mitigation strategy will have to be weakened so more kids can fit into classrooms.  We, at JFK, are blessed with large classrooms and enrollment sizes that allow us to accommodate six feet of social distancing.
  • Over the weekend, I was reading recent research, particularly out of North Carolina, that indicated extremely little, if any, student to student COVID transmission while at school.  The questions then became was it because young people are poorer transmitters of the virus, because they have less severe symptoms and it isn’t noticed as easily that they are sick, because schools can better control/enforce mitigation strategies that have proven to be effective in reducing transmission, like face coverings, social distancing, washing hands regularly, contact tracing, etc., or perhaps because of some combination of all of the above?
  • For this time of year, regular flu-season, JFK’s absence rate is actually doing quite well.  We’ve heard the same thing from some other schools; if it weren’t for COVID, absences are way down.  It seems that COVID-19 mitigation strategies are doing well to keep other illnesses in check.  Last Tuesday’s 3.33% absence rate among those expected to be in the building (meaning it excludes those choosing to do long-term remote learning) was one of the lowest rates we’ve seen since September.
  • If you are planning any international travel, including to a warm place over spring break, please note that international travel restrictions change beginning January 26th.  In order to board a plan for re-entry into the U.S., you will need a negative COVID test within three days of departure from the foreign country.  One of the unknowns is whether or not such testing accommodations can be made to U.S. travelers in other countries.

January/2nd Semester Tuition Payments Due

Don’t forget to pay the January monthly tuition payment or the second payment for those doing their tuition in two payments.  We have bills to pay as well, particularly payroll.  Just over 85% of our revenue goes toward paying staff salaries.

Upcoming Dates

  • Jan 15 – 29:  Diaper drive.  Student council is collecting diapers, baby wipes, or cash donations for diapers.
  • Jan 18:  Martin Luther King Day, no classes.  ECLC is open.
  • Jan 20:  8th grade Assumption High School parent/student meeting.  More information for families should come directly from AHS.  Eighth grade families whose students are not attending AHS should reach out to the respective public high schools as well.
  • Jan 21:  Home & School, 6:30 p.m.  Socially distant in the cafeteria or Zoom through an emailed link.
  • Jan 29:  End of 2nd Quarter
  • Jan 30 – Feb 6:  Catholic Schools Week
  • Feb 11:  Kindergarten Round-up

Catholic Schools Week

Below is the tentative schedule for the week of Feb 1-5:

  • Saturday, Jan 30:  Smokin’ Butt BBQ  (see a separate flyer from Home & School)
  • Sunday, Jan 31:  Donuts & More (see a separate flyer from H & S)
  • Monday, Feb 1:  Movie day with gourmet candy suckers
      • Pajama day
  • Tuesday, Feb 2:  Bingo day
      • Class choice dress day
      • H & S event at Snow Star.  Reservations are required, and space is limited.  See separate H & S flyer or the event page on JFK Moms and Dads Facebook account.
  • Wednesday, Feb 3:  Uncle Bill’s Pizza and Virtual Field Trip Day
      • Every student will receive 2 slices of cheese pizza and a bag of chips for lunch.  Students may bring in an 8-16 oz. can or bottle of pop or other beverage as well.  The lunch program will not be providing lunches today.  Students, of course, can opt out and bring their own sack lunches and drinks.
      • JFK spirit wear and/or green/white day
      • Feast of St. Blaise with blessing of the throats
  • Thursday, Feb 4:  Minute to Win It Day
      • Wacky dress day
      • 4/5 yr old PS conferences are scheduled.  No 4/5 yr old PS classes
      • K-8 evening parent/teacher conferences.  Drop in.  Face coverings and social distancing required.
  • Friday, February 5:  Class Act (recorded), Human Scrabble, and Custard Cup Day
      • Hat and crazy sock day
      • The custard cup provider uses a nut-free facility/process, and there should not be a cross-contamination issue, which is so often experienced with ice cream providers
      • 4/5 yr old PS conferences are scheduled.  No 4/5 yr old PS classes

In many previous Catholic Schools’ Weeks, families spent or donated quite a bit at the spaghetti dinner, book fair, bring a guest to lunch day, and even for Dodgeball for Diapers.  Without the large gathering events, families may be able to keep the costs down significantly this year.  However, we still want EVERY student to be able to benefit from something extra during CSW.  Please see a separate flyer that shares how you can help JFK and H & S by “sponsoring” your child, several classmates, or the whole homeroom for various items like the gourmet suckers, pizza meal, bingo prizes, and/or custard cups.

Current Events Seem to be Harder and Harder to Discuss

Up and down the grade levels this year, it seems that teachers are finding themselves in difficult positions of relating regular curricula items to current events as regular curricula often call for and even of responding to questions or conversations that students of all ages raise or have among themselves regarding current events.  What one says or doesn’t say, allows students to say or not to say, leaves as an open statement or to which one offers a counter response, and even chooses as source material can be interpreted as meaning one thing or another, it seems.  It has been particularly difficult through this election “season,” and we will not be viewing any inauguration events live.  Please continue to pray for our teachers.

On a personal note, I am also continuing to pray for my nephew, who is in the Iowa National Guard and has been called into active duty in Washington, D.C. for at least ten days.