This web page will be updated as new information or guidelines are provided by public health officials.
On Thursday, April 2nd, Governor Reynolds announced that she is recommending that Iowa school districts close through April 30, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This recommendation comes from guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health and based on CDC guidelines. The Ballard Community School District will be closed through April 30, 2020. We will provide updates as they are available to us regarding school closure and other pertinent information.
Q: What are general prevention measures for COVID-19?
Iowa Department of Public Health recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Q: What communication has the Ballard school district provided on COVID-19?
Here is a recap of the communication sent to parents and families:
Q: Are District buildings closed?
All school buildings will be closed to the public and staff during the four-week, state-mandated closure period. Building principals will communicate with their teachers and staff on when they can access the building to retrieve personal items or those that are essential to continue work from home. Ballard District Office will remain open for phone calls daily from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and staff will remain available via email. The District Office will remain closed to all walk-ins at this time.
Q: What is the status of school scheduled events?
All school scheduled events will be canceled or postponed during the school closure period. This includes, but is not limited to, school clubs, extra-curricular activities, community events, as well as athletic practices and competitions. The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union have canceled events during the four-week closure.
Q: Will the school district provide online learning to students?
The Department of Education has stated that school districts may offer online learning options, but may not require student participation. Additionally, we understand many of you are balancing both working from home and caring for your children. As a district, we must comply with the Free and Appropriate Public Education Act and this would be very difficult to do under 504 and Students with Disabilities requirements. Following the guidance of the Department of Education, the Ballard Community School District will not provide structured online learning for students at this point, but we are developing and are continuing to grow our resources and optional engagement activities for students during our shutdown. These materials will be shared out on Wednesday, March 25th via email and will be posted on the district COVID19 webpage.
Q: Will the school district continue to pay employees during this school closure?
The school board approved continuous pay of full-time and part-time permanent employees during the four-week closure period. This includes certified staff, hourly staff, and transportation staff. The Business Office will input this information automatically. Employees may be asked to work from home and more specifics will be shared with staff from the Human Resources Department.
Q: Will meals be provided to students during this closure period?
Starting Monday, March 23, the District will be able to provide grab-and-go meals to any child under 18 years of age. Several locations have been selected that include: Slater Fire Department, Slater Baptist Church, Cambridge Methodist Church, Kelley City Park, New Horizons Mobile Home Park, Ballard Plaza and Ballard Middle School, ANY child, regardless of where they live, may access meals from these sites. At this time, we are also offering delivery of these meals to families that are unable to access the pick-up locations. Please fill out the attached survey to show your participation in the meal program or to request pick up.
These meals are possible because the Ballard Community School District received approval from the Iowa Department of Education through the USDA to provide our Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). As of Friday, March 27, 2020 the USDA has removed the requirement that children must be present to receive a meal.
Meals will be provided to all children without charge and provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will be distributing both breakfast and lunch grab-and-go meals and each student can receive two days of meals per pickup. Meals can be picked up Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Q: Will school days need to be made up as a result of this closure?
The Iowa Legislature passed a bill stating that Iowa schools will not need to reschedule days of class canceled due to the coronavirus that was signed by Governor Reynolds. The Department of Education has also announced that Iowa Testing Programs have been suspended until further notice.
Q: What family support services are in place?
We have set up a Google Form that students, families, or community members can fill out to help the Ballard Community School District identify families in need. We will reach out to individuals in need and connect them with District and community resources to support them during this difficult time.
Building principals are working with school counselors to identify families who would benefit from food and supplies. We will be coordinating with community partners in this effort to serve our families.
The Google form can be accessed through the URL below:
Lifeworks Therapy Services
LifeWorks is happy to still be able to provide mental and behavioral health services to families amidst the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place in our state. All of our providers, including therapists in both Ankeny and Des Moines offices, school-based therapists, BHIS workers and our nurse practitioner are providing Telehealth services.
These can take place through video or audio options and are simple to set up. Insurance providers have lifted most restrictions for therapy and counseling services since COVID-19 concerns have limited our ability to provide traditional in person sessions. New client services can be arranged by calling our LifeWorks office at 515-255-8399. Office staff can assist in making the best therapist match and walk clients
through the process. If you are an existing client, you can call our office at 515-255-8399, or reach out to their individual therapist via email to make an appointment.
We recognize that this is a time of increased stress and worry for families. Please know that LifeWorks is here to support the mental health needs of our community.
District email contacts:
General COVID19 information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grab and Go Meals: email@example.com
Teaching and Learning: firstname.lastname@example.org