Communication about our Return to School


West Fork Parents:

Re: Communication about our Return to School

As most of you already know, last week we sent out surveys to different stakeholders groups. We
sent a survey to all of our West Fork families regarding next school year. The Iowa Department of
Education required all districts to submit a Return to Learn plan. As the superintendent, as well as
most other school staff, we are starting to receive questions about next school year. Will you be
back? When will it start? How will it look for students? Staff? Bussing? Sports? and the list goes
on and on.

These are all great questions, the problem is that we are faced with several unknowns but must
move forward and make the best plans/decisions we can with the information we have at this point,
meanwhile knowing it can and probably will change in a week. Health officials, as well as the Iowa
Department of Education and Governor are offering guidelines, but not mandates. So that means
that decisions regarding how school districts will move forward with issues like screening, social
distancing, and disinfecting will ultimately come down to the local level.

As school leaders when we face difficult decisions, we often refer back to past experience, how we
have handled similar situations, etc. Or we call colleagues who have had previous experience and
can offer some advice. When we refer to this time as “an unprecedented time” we are basically
saying we don’t have any of that prior knowledge or information to refer back to and we have to
move forward the best we can trying to figure things out.

So how do we move forward? To address a situation like this we start by including a broad base of
our constituents in the process. Our administrative team is meeting weekly with our local AEA
admin groups, and well as our Top of Iowa Conference teams, discussing ideas, options, and
thoughts about these things. We have also met with many different teams within the school,
including our school nurses, and transportation/maintenance/food service directors. We also rely
on state and local health officials. We are in the process of coordinating a meeting with Cerro
Gordo and Franklin County Public Health Departments. Another thing we do is seek input from our
families and staff (surveys), which is viewed through varying perspectives, so as you can imagine it
gives us varying feedback.

So please know that as we continue to make plans, we are considering the ideas, thoughts, and
opinions of many, so that the best decision is likely to be a combination of multiple ideas which
when combined will make for a solid plan that we will share as soon as possible. We would also
like to share plans as far as how we as a district will respond when different situations arise so that
parents/families can plan accordingly.

Please know that we want our students back and that plans are being made to help us do so as
safely as possible. When we roll out our plan later this month, if parents do not feel comfortable
sending their child(ren) to school, we will also have a plan as to how we will educate the students
online if that is best for them and their families.

Just like the plan that I mentioned earlier that becomes better and stronger with the input and ideas
from many, as a district, we are better together. We appreciate your continued support and
understanding throughout this unprecedented time.

Mike Kruger
West Fork CSD

(If you have not yet filled out the survey that was sent on July 3rd, please check your email for a
link. If you didn’t receive an email (check your spam) please call us to let us know.)