October 9 Parent Update

October 9, 2020

Dear NSD Parent or Guardian, 

 

“Together is better.” I am reading a book that reminds us that together, we are stronger, we are likely to accomplish more, we are more likely to have confidence to succeed, and we are more likely to dream big dreams. As we journey together in this time that has so many unknowns, I am reminded again that we don’t do this work in isolation. We need each other. Specifically, we need you as parents to partner with us. We are in the midst of doing something that has been very hard. It doesn’t seem that many things we tackle these days are easy. They are often nuanced with additional layers that we haven’t had to think of or include before.  

 

The book concludes with the African proverb that says, “To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.” Our COVID journey is not over. We still have some changes and transitions that we will experience. We are still hoping that students will all be able to return to our classrooms, sooner rather than later. However, we still have a distance to go in this school year and things we want to see our students accomplish. So, let’s go together, continuing with hope. Together is better. Together is what will help us get through this. 

 

Graduation dates: The Idaho Center has worked with several area school districts to calendar graduation dates for May of 2021. In order to avoid spring state tournaments and meet the needs of all the districts in the area, our graduation dates have changed. The new graduation dates for May of 2021 are as follows: 

 

  • Nampa High School - Monday, May 24
  • Skyview High School - Tuesday, May 25
  • Columbia High School - Wednesday, May 26

 

Reopening Plan Updates. SWDH kept Canyon County in the Orange category for the third week in a row. They make their announcements on Wednesday each week based on several key data points. This week, they shared that Canyon County had a slightly increasing COVID-19 daily incidence rate of 1.63 daily new cases which is a good number. They also indicated, however, that nearly 60% of individuals with COVID-19 do NOT know where they were exposed to the disease which indicates that community spread is still fairly significant. Finally, for the first time, SWDH reported that they are seeing multiple schools in Canyon County with imported cases of COVID-19 and at least one school reporting transmission within the school. 

 

There are also rumors that our neighbors to the East in Ada County may see their category move to RED as early as next week. Although we are NOT Ada County, their trends and transmission can impact us. We will keep you updated as to our category or other information as we learn more. 

 

Fridays in October. Last week I shared that October 16 and 30 (both Fridays) are non-student days. We realize that this is two Fridays in a row. However, on each of these days our teachers are contracted to do specific things – either professional development or finalizing report cards. Both of these days were agreed upon and are part of the expectations of a teacher’s contract. Teachers are aware of this and will work within their scope and sequence of essential standards to make sure students will not miss essential instruction. That instruction will be incorporated elsewhere in a student’s instruction. 

 

COVID Cases in the District. The district is committed to sharing as much information as we can related to positive cases and quarantine in the district. You can access our weekly statistics on our webpage. The latest report (with numbers through Oct. 5) reflects 1 employee and 9 students who have tested positive for COVID-19, with 2 staff and 56 students quarantined. The report is generally updated on Mondays.

 

For the most part, our case numbers are still emerging from student or staff contact with someone outside of the school district. We did, however, have our first confirmed cases this week where the transmission was likely due to contact made through a school athletic activity. 

 

As a reminder, we encourage all staff and students to remain committed to our mitigation strategies. We are a large district and the number of cases we are reporting are minimal. We will have positive cases; however, our small numbers are a result of both students and staff focusing on masking, physical distancing, and hand and cough etiquette.  

 

As a result of contact tracing this week, the district did quarantine a classroom of students and a varsity athletic team. All impacted students and families were contacted. Both schools that were impacted were sent a letter to notify families that there was a case associated with their building. If you were not contacted, your student was not in close contact with the individual who tested positive. You can help us out by watching for and answering phone calls from Southwest District Health Department as they do their contact tracing. They are experiencing a delay in connecting with families that are not answering their phone or returning phone calls. 

 

Fans at Athletic Events. In the last couple of weeks, we have been excited to increase the number of fans present at games and to begin to invite students on a limited basis back to our games. As we have done this, however, we have noticed that fans are not as diligent in following the guidelines we have set. We know that COVID fatigue is a real thing. We recognize that masking and physical distancing can be difficult to maintain at times. However, please help us keep our students in school and our athletes on the field. We would love to continue to welcome fans and students to our games, but we need to prioritize our ability to keep our athletes and their families safe. 

 

As a reminder, here are the basic guidelines: 

  1. If the venue is outside,please wear your mask as you enter and exit, if you are in line for the restroom or any other time you are within 6 feet of someone else. If, after you have found your seat and you are maintaining the 6-foot physical distance from non-family members, please feel free to drop your mask around your neck. 
  2. If the venue is inside, we are requiring masks be worn all the time. Although we have updated our air filters in all venues, HVAC systems still recirculate air throughout the venue. Events last for extended periods of time. Inside events with lots of people are more conducive to transmission. So even as you maintain the 6-foot physical distance from non-family members, we ask you to keep your mask on to protect you and to protect others. 
  3. If you are not comfortable with these guidelines, please connect with your school AD who can help you find ways to view the game online.

Working together, we can maintain our ability to keep fans in seats and athletes healthy. Thank you for helping us with these requirements. 

 

Parent Teacher Conferences on the Horizon 

Our secondary schools will host parent-teacher conferences on October 20 and 21 from 5-8 p.m. These conferences will be primarily virtual and each school will be sending out instructions on how to make appointments. At the secondary level, we are encouraging parents to make appointments with their student’s mentor or advisory teacher. This teacher has been working with your student this semester, supporting them in keeping up with their studies and encouraging them to be engaged in their learning. If you need to speak to specific to individual teachers after this appointment with the advisory/mentor teacher, your school will let you know how they can assist you in making that connection. 

 

Elementary schools are on a trimester schedule this year and will be hosting parent teacher conferences on November 11-13. As we get closer, individual schools will communicate with families regarding how appointments can be made. Elementary conferences will also be virtual for the most part. If a virtual conference will not work for your family, please let your school know so that they can make alternate arrangements.  

 

Thank you again for your partnership in support of your child’s education. 

 

Dr. Paula Kellerer 
Superintendent 
Nampa School District