By Dennis Morgan
On recommendation of the Nebraska Health Department, ALL ESU 8 Schools (Elgin Public, PJCC/St. Boniface Elementary, Wheeler Central among others) are closed until March 31.
At that time, it will be determined if they can reopen or remain closed in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
EPS Superintendent Dan Polk believes that the closure will go past the 31st. In announcing the closing of school, EPS officials are planning to continue providing educational opportunities as well as breakfast and lunch through the closure. Starting as soon as Thursday, March 19, they are going to be delivering educational materials to homes AND delivering breakfast and lunch to any students who may want it as well. The payment process for breakfast and lunch will be as it currently is and free and reduced families will get their meals at free and reduced prices. Parents will be notified by the school via email about details related the closure.
The decision to close schools came after Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced that gatherings of 50 or more people were banned until the pandemic had subsided. That occurred Monday morning, by Monday afternoon the number had been chopped down to 10 people.
“I want to remind everyone that the 10-person limit is guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Gov. Ricketts. “It is not a law enforcement action. It’s going to take individual action from all of us to make this work. Please use common sense in applying it.”
Likewise, Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School AND St. Boniface Elementary School will be closed through March 31. Principal Betty Getzfred announced in an email message to parents that the goal is to return students to the classroom on March 31. Students and parents should check their email daily as teachers, she said, will be posting assignments on google classroom for students to complete and submit. Students are encouraged to stay home. Parents should not allow students to congregate together until the pandemic subsides.
The pandemic has forced the postponement or cancellation of a wide array of events. The annual FFA State Convention has been cancelled, the same goes for the FCCLA convention, affecting many Elgin area students. Also postponed are the District and State Speech Competitions. Pope John and Elgin Public were both to compete at the district competition tomorrow at Grand Island.
The state competition was to be held the following week at Kearney.
For Elgin High School, the Junior-Senior Prom has been postponed indefinitely, Superintendent Polk said Monday night.
TeamMates of Elgin announced they are temporarily suspending their mentoring until further notice.
By Dennis Morgan