Q&A with Supt. Joe Nelson

One month into the school year, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Superintendent Joe Nelson answered some questions about COVID-19 and how this year has looked so far.  

We’re one month into the school year. How has COVID-19 impacted absences in the buildings with staff and employees?

A: After one month of the school year, we have not seen an uptick in student absences, COVID related or not. Our student illnesses and absences are currently at the same rate that they were prior to COVID 19.

Has there been any discussion between the school board and you about a mask mandate at CGD?

None whatsoever. We think it’s important for each of our families to make this decision on their own.

Last year there were multiple COVID restrictions in place during the school day and at school events. Those restrictions have been lifted. What changed?

In a word, the “vaccine.”  We worked closely with Wright County Public Health and Iowa Specialty Hospitals last year to slow the spread of the virus until a vaccine became available. The vaccine has been available to everyone since last April and we also received clearance from Iowa Specialty Hospital to resume school activities without our restrictions from the prior year.

How have the students responded thus far?

Our kids have been and will continue to be the best part of my job at CGD. Our students just want to be in school learning, spending time with their friends, and enjoying the activities that come from a rich school experience like we enjoy at CGD.

What’s been new for the teachers this year compared to 2020?

Every year brings new challenges for our teachers, but this year we did drop our remote learning option, and I think that’s been well received by our teaching staff. This allows our great teachers to focus all of their time on traditional face-to-face learning in the classroom.

Anything else?

As a Board and Superintendent working closely together, we’re all on the same page with one goal in mind. We truly believe our students need to be in school every day during the school year. Our students need to be around their peers and in front of our outstanding teachers and staff during the day. Remote/e-learning has a place during the year when weather interrupts our schedule, but nothing can replace the value of traditional face to face learning in our classrooms. Keeping kids healthy and in school will always be our job.

Lastly, I’d like to thank our school nurses, Megan Lingenfelter and Erin Halverson. They have worked relentlessly to keep our students and staff in school. We would not be in the position we are today without these two dedicated school nurses. We’re fortunate to have them on staff.

 

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Wright County Monitor

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