Closure likely through the end of the year
We are in contact with our health departments, the Commissioner of Education and the Governor’s office on an almost daily basis as we try to gather the latest and most accurate information available. The latest projections are that this virus is just getting started in our area and likely will not peak for another month or more.
Along those lines of information, it pains me to have to announce that Heartland Community Schools will be closed indefinitely and likely will not re-open for the remainder of the school year. Our state and local health departments will review this recommendation on April 30th. This means that all school activities are cancelled and our building is closed to students and the general public. This includes prom and as far as graduation, we will have ongoing discussions as to what that may look like, if we can do anything at all. A letter from our local health officials recommending that this is the step schools in our area should take can be downloaded here.
We hate this for the seniors, especially. There may be higher expectations for the completion of work from seniors in order to finish basic requirements for a diploma, but those things need to be sorted out, yet. We will certainly update you as those decisions are made. We, as a staff, talk frequently and they are doing some amazing things to be able to offer our students learning opportunities that will help them to grow during the closure. We will continue with a plan of enrichment activities and not try to simulate a school day via online courses as some area schools have done. We are trying to adhere to recommendations from the Commissioner in this area and feel that taking care of family and not adding to the forthcoming stress is our best action at this time.
If the Governor continues to allow us to operate our lunch program, we will keep it going. We are feeding nearly 175 students per day. If we have to reduce our contact in this area, we may move to the distribution of a week’s worth of meals at one time.
The best thing that we can do at this point is to distance ourselves. No kids going to friend’s houses. No going to the mall. No movie parties or sleep overs. No shooting baskets at the park or school with others. Keep in mind that being outside does not change the social distancing guidelines. Please stay home and get everyone through this for better days to come, especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems or underlying health problems.
We hate that we cannot have kids in the building. Your children are a huge part of our lives and it hurts when our passion is disrupted as it has been with this event. Hang in there. Trust that we will continue working hard to engage students over the next couple of months and know that we understand that we will have to play “catch up” come August. We have a great staff and I have full confidence in their abilities to help in making this time a learning experience. It may look different, but it will be good for those that choose to participate.
Brad Best - Superintendent of Schools