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SCHOOL CLOSURE EXTENDED THROUGH THE END OF APRIL

SCHOOL CLOSURE EXTENDED THROUGH THE END OF APRIL At a press conference held on Thursday, April 2, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that schools in Iowa will be closed through at least the end of April to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Please be aware that there is still a strong likelihood that we will not return for the rest of the 2019-20 school year. Because of the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created in our schools, several questions have arisen. This is particularly true for seniors and senior parents. Please note that the following questions are answered with the assumption that schools will not be able to host large gatherings in May or possibly even June. Will we have graduation? If so, when will it be? We are tentatively planning to have graduation on Friday, July 31, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Will there be a senior trip? If not, will seniors get a refund? Unfortunately, there will not be a senior trip. If there is money left in the senior account, there are a few ideas under consideration. For example, catering a meal to be served during graduation rehearsal. Will there be an awards night for seniors? We are still examining if and when this would happen. It may be done using a format such as Facebook Live. Will high school students (particularly seniors) earn credits toward graduation? The Iowa Department of Education is working on an expedited application process that would allow school districts to provide online learning opportunities (as Underwood is doing now) and require and grade the work. Students would earn their credits based upon their third quarter grades and the required classwork completed after that application is accepted by the Iowa Department of Education. Even if our application is not accepted, we will be able to determine senior credits. A fallback position would be to use the students’ third quarter grades. Will there be a baccalaureate ceremony? Baccalaureate is not a school-sponsored event, but we have contacted the individuals in charge of this event, Sandy Redshaw and Dani Baxter. They are considering having a baccalaureate ceremony on Sunday, July 26, 2020, or on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium. What will happen with prom? Hopefully, we will be able to reschedule prom and post-prom and have them take place on a date later this summer. Post-prom fundraising money would go toward that event. Post-prom parents would determine what would happen with the post-prom fundraising money if post-prom can’t be held. Will there be a yearbook? Yes, there will be a yearbook. What will happen with spring and summer athletics and activities? All athletic and activity events will follow the guidelines established by their respective state associations. Options are presently being examined at the state level. All music and speech events have been cancelled. Will there be spring concerts? No, all spring concerts at Underwood have been cancelled. Will the music trip to Nashville still take place? At this time, the Nashville music trip is still planned to take place during the summer. However, there is a strong possibility that it will be rescheduled to a later date. This will be determined once we get more guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the travel company coordinating the trip. Will parents be notified of updates on our situation? Building principals will be sending a weekly email to parents during our closure. Please keep an eye out for these emails. We will pass on new information we receive from the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Department of Public Health It is natural to have several questions and concerns during unprecedented times such as these. We will do our best to answer your questions or direct you to someone who can. Please contact me, Superintendent Ed Hawks, at ehawks@underwoodschools.org or 712-566-2332 or your child’s building principal for help. The contact information for the building principals is as follows: High School Principal Matt McDonough, mmcdonough@undewoodschools.org or 712-566-2703; Middle School Principal Beau Jacobsen, bjacobsen@underwoodschools.org or 712-566-2332; and Elementary Principal Jeff Privia, jprivia@underwoodschools.org or 712-566-2326.