Information about the uncertainties of PV’s COVID-19 closure



COVID-19, known as coronavirus, was declared a global pandemic on March 11.

Alyce Brown, Staff Contributor

Pleasant Valley School District announced on Monday, March 16 that the district will be shut down until April 13 due to the current coronavirus pandemic. Following that announcement, there is still uncertainty around many facets of that decision. 

With many schools in the nation switching to online classes, students and staff have been wondering if PV will make that same jump during the following month off. Addressing that speculation, Principal Darren Erickson said that “at this time, we won’t move to [online learning] unless something changes.” An important part of this decision was the fact that PV is not a one-to-one device district, meaning that the district does not provide devices to each student; that and the fact that not all students have access to an internet connection were the reasons he gave as to why the district is not currently moving in the direction of online learning. 

There has also been uncertainty as to whether or not students will have to make up the missed days. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said that legally they do not have to be made up, but PV is not completely sure to what extent they will follow that pardon. Erickson said that not making up the days is a possibility that is being considered, but the administration is also thinking about many other options. “While we may not legally have to make up all missed time, we will work with our staff to determine if some time needs to be added to make sure we are preparing students appropriately for their next classes or steps in their education or career,” he said.

As far as how the break will affect what kind of work the teachers have to do, options are still up in the air. While no official decisions have been made yet, Erickson said, “We have started a list of trainings, curriculum work, individual professional development, and other items staff may be able to do during the time.” He said it can be looked at as just as a head-start on the type of work that teachers usually do over the summer. 

With the ever-changing nature of the virus, many students and parents have also been concerned as to whether or not school will actually resume on April 13 as scheduled. Erickson was just as unsure on the topic as everyone is at this time. “Anything I would say is purely speculation,” he said. “Reducing the spread of the virus and keeping everyone safe and healthy takes precedence over anything.”

When, how, and if the graduation ceremony will take place is just as unsure. Erickson said that it is too early to tell, but also said that currently, no changes have been made to the scheduled ceremony time and that it will go on as planned unless something changes. 

Both Brian Strusz, district superintendent, and Erickson were adamant about the uncertain nature of the current situation. Any information surrounding the district’s cancellation and handling of the virus is susceptible to change.