As we prepare to round out the 2019-2020 school year, I would like to thank you for your help and support as we’ve addressed all of the new issues and abounding opportunities surrounding COVID-19. This has certainly been a learning adventure and we could not have done it without the collaboration and support of so many people. Throughout this ordeal we’ve tried to address our challenges in 5 distinct ways: 

Coordination – ensuring that all parts of our system were working together to best meet the needs of students and families. Such as coordinating Grab and Go lunches to coincide with locker pick-ups to dropping off instruments to students’ homes. 

Communication – keeping you abreast of changes, mandates, and ways to connect to resources and support through our Infinite Campus messenger. 

Flexibility – keeping an open mind and adjusting to the changing guidelines so that we could best meet the needs of our students. 

Whole Child Supports – finding ways to support our students so they were fed, cared for physically and mentally, and had opportunities to connect with each other and their teachers. 

Academic Continuity – finding every possible way to keep kids learning and engaged by sharing resources, connecting families to the internet, producing packets and lining up older students to tutor younger students. 

We certainly hope the worst is past us and this Fall will bring a renewed opportunity to connect in person and to get back to a new normal for school and learning. To best prepare for the uncertain future, we are engaged in the development of three plans. The first is a Required Virtual Learning Plan. This is due to the Iowa Department of Education on July 1. Should something like this occur again, we will be required to have all students engage in learning remotely. Many supports and plans will be in place to allow us to quickly pivot to this type of learning environment, should the need arise. 

The other two plans are optional but we are developing them to best be prepared for the future. The second plan will be how we manage the school setting if we return to school under requirements dictated by CDC guidelines. We will have plans in place to ensure social distancing, temperature checks, frequent hand washing, deep cleaning and disinfecting are part of the normal routine. The third plan will be a hybrid plan. This plan will incorporate both the required virtual and in-person learning options. 

More than anything, I hope this pandemic has emphasized how truly vital our public school system is to the Winterset community. From parades throughout the streets of Winterset, to birthday videos produced for children, to books read to classes via Zoom, to physical education scavenger hunts, to thousands of meals prepared for kids, to the cleaning of lockers and desks and disseminating possessions to 1750 students – our school employees stepped up to the challenge and delivered far more than we could ever imagine – all for the benefit of our students. Winterset truly is a special place! 

As always, all of us involved in the Winterset School District work daily to maximize areas of strength and address areas of need. As we work to continuously improve, we value your input. If you have feedback or ideas, do not hesitate to contact me. My e-mail is smeade@winterset.k12.ia.us or I can be reached at 515-462-2718. Our Twitter accounts are @WintersetSchool and

@WintersetHusky; our Facebook account is Winterset Community Schools.