School will shut down this week

RANDOLPH — The arrival of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Nebraska has caused school and business closures in Cedar County and across the state.

Schools, churches, businesses and government offices have all announced major changes in an effort to stop from spreading the contagion.

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced in a Monday press conference that he is recommending people follow the Centers for Disease Control recommendations, which suggest public gatherings be limited to 10 or fewer people.

After the announcement came out, the Omaha Archdiocese canceled all Masses and communal celebrations of the sacraments, effective immediately.

The Governor’s announcement also prompted all northeast Nebraska schools to begin making plans to shut down either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

The Randolph School will shut down at the close of the day March 18, the School Board decided Monday night.

Board members discussed many measures concerning the coronavirus. They passed policy 1500 concerning the emergency closure of school buildings and policy 1501 for emergency exclusion of people from school.

Randolph Supt. Jeff Hoesing said the school is working with Northeast and Northcentral health departments. The rationale for closing is to allow prevention of the spreading of coronavirus. “Teachers are ready for whatever we hand

“Teachers are ready for whatever we hand them,’’ Hoesing said.

The closure comes with lots of concerns.

“The Superintendent of Wayne said he met with business people from town who wanted school closed. He told them he would close school if the businesses would close, too, because the students would not be staying home they would be downtown in the businesses.’’

Teachers will report every day. They can bring their children to work with them, but not other children. Paras will be given some type of work whether helping to serve meals or deliver meals to families in their homes for breakfast and lunch.

The North Central health department recommends staff reporting should have a symptom screen. Strict distancing is also called for to prevent spread of the Coronavirus. Bus drivers will probably not be working, he said.

Because of the expected closure of most schools in the state, Hoesing said the Department of Education has announced there will be no mandated testing this year.

No NSCAS (Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System) or NSCAS ACT (American College Testing) testing will be given for this school year. The NSCAS is designed to provide information about what students know in core academic areas such as English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, Science and Social Science.

Hoesing said the school is looking into online access for families in homes. Sparkle is also offering free wifi, he said.

“Some families don’t want Internet in their homes,’’ Miller said. “A single parent doesn’t want the kids on the Internet while they are gone.’’

Board members discussed policy 1501 concerning the emergency exclusions of people from school: If the superintendent or his designee determines a person may pose a health or safety risk to others, the superintendent may exclude such person from school property. If the person is a student, this policy is referred to. If the person is a staff member, the staff member may be placed on paid or unpaid leave. If the person is not either of these, the person will be informed as soon as possible that they are not permitted on school property until further notice from the superintendent or his designee. The superintendent may consult with law enforcement, health officials or other experts in determining whether the exclusion should occur.

Policy no. 1500 involves determining if buildings should be closed due to health concerns. It gives the superintendent or his designee authority to close a building until determined it should be reopened. Law enforcement, health officials and other experts will give input. The decision to close will be communicated to others as soon as possible.

Also Monday, the Board learned about possible updates to the teacher evaluation model. Staff members will receive the proposal March 27. The school board will officially accept this at the April school board meeting.

All FFA, FCCLA, and Speech events have been canceled for the remainder of the school year. At this time, the school still has golf and track events scheduled. The school will follow protocols given to us from NSAA and the Nebraska Public Health organizations. The USD Jazz Festival has been canceled. The school is seeking input on the Dinner Concert and awaiting further decisions on additional music events planned.

The Science Fair, scheduled for March 19, will not take place.

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