The Albia Community School District, like virtually every other school disrtrict in the state, is closed at least until mid-April.
The decision to close schools came Sunday afternoon when Gov. Kim Reynolds made the “recommendation” to shutter school buildings for four weeks as then nation braces for what is believed to be the top of the bell curve for COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The closure, according to Superintendent Kevin Crall, applies to all school programming, including after school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices, competitions and weekend events.
Crall said Tuesday morning that the school’s food service will continue to work with “grab and go” lunches available starting Wednesday, March 18 at the Melrose Community Hall, Lovilia Community Center, Avery United Methodist Church and the gym entrance at Lincoln Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lunches will be free to all children ages 0-18 through curb-side pickup.
The Lincoln Center Food Bank will be open from 8-9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Friday with a drive-through service similar to the Grab & Go system.
Crall said that he and his administrative team have been working long hours since Sunday to get a working plan in order. “The one last piece of this thing is creating online learning options for students,” he said. “Our teachers are going back into their rooms this week to get materials and then we will be setting up voluntary, ungraded online learning opportunities for students who have computers at home. We’re also going to figure out how to get Chromebooks to students who don’t have access to computers at home.
“It is in everyone’s best interest to keep up academically,” he said.
Crall said that school staff would not face temporary layoffs. “Everything is already in the budget and faculty will be working from home while our janitorial and transportation staffs may be doing some cleaning and general upkeep of the buildings. Our cooks will be preparing the Grab & Go lunches.”
Special time of year on hold
Spring is a special time of the year in the life of the school district and right now that life is on hold.
The high school spring play, prom, spring concerts and all spring sports are all on hold.
“If it works out that we can reopen school by mid-April, then I’m hoping we can make-up most of what we’ll lose out on in the next four weeks,” he said. “I know this is scary stuff and we are navigating in uncharted waters. We need to lean on each other in order to do the best we can to provide an education to our students, even if it is done remotely.”