COVID-19: Its effects on spring break and school

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Maggie Peterson, Business Manager

Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa had three cases of coronavirus four days ago. It is now up to 16 cases. 

All but two of the 14 Iowans live in Johnson county and contracted the virus while on a cruise in Egypt. The two other cases are from Pottawattamie county and Carroll county. The former contracted it while visiting California. 

This is worrisome for PV students since most are leaving for spring break. Spring break tends to be a prime time for families to travel outside of the state or country. But the coronavirus has forced many people to change their plans or cancel their trips all together.

But what happens when students return after being exposed to airports, planes, large crowds, etc.? This is something superintendent Brian Struz and the district are watching very closely. “We are hoping that we will not have to close due to the coronavirus. If the Scott County Health Department or the Iowa Department of Public Health were to close our school(s), then we would work in collaboration with the Departments to ensure the safety of all students and staff upon their return,” said Struz. 

On Wednesday night the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to WHO, a pandemic can be classified as a “new disease for which people do not have immunity and it spreads around the world beyond expectations.” 

Iowa, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa have all announced they are suspending in-person classes until April 3. Instead opting to move all classes, if possible, online for the time being. But what does this mean for Pleasant Valley students? 

Right now schools in Iowa are not allowed to move lessons online, unlike the colleges and universities. In order for this to happen Struz realizes it will require a change in legislation. “At this point we are waiting for guidance from the Iowa Department of Education. Currently, legislation does not allow us to use temporary on-line learning for missed school days.  In addition, the legislation does not allow the Governor to reduce the required 180 days or 1,080 hours of school due to weather or due to a declared temporary emergency,” says Struz. 

As the number of cases in Iowa increases everyday, it’s important to follow general health guidelines to reduce the chance of becoming sick. Junior Anna Thorne stresses the importance of following these guidelines. “Being educated about good habits and healthy lifestyles is the most we can do right now. Being extra cautious is how we can help reduce these cases,” said Thorne.

Right now is the time to remember to stay home if one feels sick and to remember to wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs. 

In an attempt to keep everyone safe the district is stressing the importance of these tips to stay healthy: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm or elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Do not share beverages. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, like hand railings, light switches, doorknobs and keyboards/laptops.