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Riverside COVID-19 Update 9-15-2021
Tim Mitchell
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

RETURN TO LEARN UPDATES:

Notifications: 

We are in week four of the 2021-2022 school year and we are happy that things are going extremely well. I have sent out COVID-19 Updates every Monday and will continue to notify the public each week as to disease activity in the district. We have had only three confirmed cases and all of those students and staff have now returned to school. We will only be allowed to inform constituents the number of students/staff who were confirmed positive district-wide each week. 

Face Covering Guidance: 

On Monday September 13, a Federal Judge granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the State from enforcing the law that prohibited school districts from mandating face coverings  for students, staff, and visitors. This order was immediately appealed by the State. Due to this ruling, several schools around the state have started the process of requiring face coverings in their buildings. 

At this time, we will continue our current practice and face coverings will continue to be optional/recommended at Riverside. We will continue to support each student or staff member's choice to wear, or not wear, face coverings inside the building. 

One of our main goals is to provide a consistent learning atmosphere for our students. With all the uncertainty surrounding this law and the legality of it, we will not disrupt student learning to institute a mandate that could be overturned quickly. We are extremely fortunate not to have had many cases to date, we are tracking only very limited virus activity in school and our data will allow us to remain status quo. 

Our plan is to continue to operate as we have been, monitor our student and staff positive numbers, and wait on guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the Iowa Department of Education on how changes in law affect quarantine and/or contact tracing. Currently no guidance is provided. 

Vaccine Mandate: 

Last week, President Biden ordered a vaccination mandate for many employers in a variety of categories. Right now, we have received no guidance, timelines, or plans in place for this mandate, nor do we know if school districts are affected by this order. Until we are required by the state or federal government to mandate vaccines or testing for all employees, Riverside will not require testing or vaccination of employees. 

As we move forward, we focus on what we can control, which is offering quality educational opportunities to students here in Riverside. We will respond to and comply with state and federal orders as they apply to us. We will use information from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Department of Education, to make decisions that provide the best learning opportunities for our students. 

Thank you all for your patience and understanding. We have had a wonderful start to the year and I expect that to continue. Moving forward, I will do my best to keep everyone informed as guidance becomes available.

Riverside Disease Mitigation Guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year

  • Students and staff should stay home if sick and self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19

  • Face Coverings are a personal choice—District will support those who choose to wear a Face Covering

  • Face Coverings are encouraged for students, staff and visitors that are unvaccinated when indoors

  • Increased ventilation inside buildings, moving school activities outdoors when possible, and school vehicles operated with windows open when possible

  • Social Distancing-when possible (3-6 feet)

  • Routine hand washing and sanitizing

  • Avoid touching mouth and nose with hands

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Enhanced cleaning on a regular basis

  • Encourage vaccination and provide access at Onsite Vaccination Clinics at school