North Cedar News
One of the benefits of a small school district is that we can immerse ourselves in our community of learners. Get to know the movers and shakers in the North Cedar Community School District! Our News page is chock full of student and staff praise, helpful tips, and information about what’s new in the district.
Please note, Cedar county has created a website with helpful information about the COVID-19. Please view this COVID-19 website. Here you will find community updates, FAQ, links to supporting agencies, and much more.
North Cedar Staff, Parents, and Community,
Governor Kim Reynolds announced an extension of school closures throughout Iowa. As a result, buildings and facilities in the North Cedar Community School District will remain closed until at least Thursday, April 30.
We will continue to provide meal services and online learning resources for our students. We’ve recently received some new guidance from the Iowa Department of Education that allows us to provide more instructional opportunities to our students. We ask that you encourage your child to participate along with accessing the resources that were provided last week. We will be providing more instructional opportunities in the near future. We are also asking parents to look for upcoming communication from their elementary teacher and/or make sure their children are checking their emails daily as this will be the primary way our teachers will be communicating with students. For the latest updates, please continue to check our website and Facebook page.
Again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate through this very challenging and uncertain time. Please continue to practice social distancing, and stay at home as much as you can to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
We appreciate your patience as we work to create a positive plan for students and your continued support of the North Cedar Community School District.
Superintendent of North Cedar Community School District
Thank you to all families for your recent patience, trust, flexibility, and support. What we are experiencing is unprecedented and hopefully a once in a lifetime event.
The governor recommended that schools shut down for four weeks. We will follow the governor's recommendation and not have school again until Tuesday, April 14. This means that there are no school activities at all for the North Cedar Community School District through Monday, April 13.
We are continuing to make plans on how to best serve our students and will be sending more information in the days to come. We are looking at educational options for students, as well as offering a meal program. There are many moving parts, and we all want to do what we can.
Please take a moment to read Superintendent Mark Dohmen's complete letter to parents regarding the school closure, and contact your building principal or other administrators by email only with questions.
- Superintendent - Mark Dohmen
- Junior/Senior High School Principal - Mary Bendixen
- Elementary Principal - Jenny Horman
- District Nurse - Lee Kline
- District Food Director - Jen Smith
- District Director of Maintenance - Bob Dohmen
- District Daycare Director - Maria Porter
- District Technology Director - Peter Green
- District Transportation Director - Robert Johnson
Hello North Cedar Elementary Families,
We put together some ideas for you to do with your kids over the next four weeks! These are optional but may help pass the time during the quarantine! Please check out our North Cedar Elementary home activities document.
The junior/senior high staff has assembled a collection of resources below for students to utilize during the COVID-19 closure. Our overall goal is to keep our students' brains engaged and prevent boredom during this time. All activities are beneficial, but optional. If your student needs any items from school such as laptop, books, or band instruments, please contact Principal Bendixen via email, and we will make arrangements for you to pick up those items.
At this time, we will continue to stay open to those families who are in need of childcare. We understand at this unprecedented time some of you have chosen to pull your children out for the time being. In an effort to help families through this time, we will not be charging rates while your child is gone. This will not affect your spot during this time away, either. Once we get through this, things will resume as they were before and you will have your same spot available.
With that being said, we may need to utilize your spot during the time you are not using it to assist families that are out working the "frontlines" whose daycares have closed for the time being. If you are planning to keep your child home until they open schools back up, please let me know. We ask those who are just wanting to self quarantine for two weeks and will then be returning to work and will need childcare before the schools open back up, to also let us know as soon as possible. This way I can assure you will have a spot when you need it.
We will be postponing the rate changes that were supposed to take effect on April 1 until we are through this.
As a reminder for those who have school age children, we will bill these days as no school days. If you plan to attend part time, please let us know what days. We will set these days, as we are trying to utilize our space as best as possible and help those we can.
We also have some new precautions and protocols in place due to COVID-19. You can view all of these in our protocol and precaution letter to parents.
Maria L Porter, District Daycare Director
Each month, the North Cedar School Board will be sharing two or three key highlights of our monthly board meetings. These takeaways are messages that the board collectively feels are important for the public to know.
Here are the highlights from the March 16, 2020, meeting:
The community show of support during the COVID-19 pandemic has been remarkable. District administration, teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members, have shown unity in the current and uncertain times. The North Cedar School Board thanks you for your solidarity and for continuing to be strong, Knights!
Sharing Agreements and Early Retirement
While faced with continuous enrollment and budget challenges over the last several years, we have entered into several sharing agreements with neighboring school districts to share teachers, directors, and administration. Existing agreements will continue for another year resulting in salary and benefit savings and state operational sharing dollars of approximately $260,000. These cost savings allow North Cedar to reduce expenses, yet maintain valuable programs for our students. The board also approved an early retirement request for Jody Montz. We thank her and all staff for their dedication to our students.
Members of the public and students attended the meeting to advocate for a cause of concern to them. We applaud their participation in the meeting and the support they showed for each other.
To view the full agenda, meeting minutes, or attachments of North Cedar School Board meetings, please see our Board of Education page.
We understand that the novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, is causing much anxiety in our community, state, and the world. North Cedar Community School District is working closely with Cedar County Public Health and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.
What we know
The virus causing COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified and causes a respiratory illness ranging from a mild cold-like illness to severe respiratory disease.
Similar to influenza, the people who are most likely to have severe disease and complications from COVID-19 are either elderly, very young, or those with other chronic or underlying medical conditions.
There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for COVID-19, so prevention is very important.
Currently, there are eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa. Experts predict there will eventually be community spread. IDPH, Cedar County Public Health, and North Cedar Community School District are preparing for when/if this happens.
How the Virus Spreads
There is evidence that COVID-19 is spreading primarily the same way the common cold or flu spreads. This is through respiratory droplets that come when someone coughs or sneezes.
People who are most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those who have been in close contact (within about six feet) with someone who has the disease.
People are most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
What Can You Do Now
- Keep children home when they are sick.
- Students (and parents/guardians) who are ill, especially with acute respiratory symptoms (not allergies or chronic conditions), should stay home.
- Teach your children to always cover their cough and sneezes with a tissue or elbow.
- Remind them to wash their hands with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer) after they touch their face, use the restroom, and before they eat.
- Tell children to avoid touching their mouths and nose since that is how germs get into the body.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (everyday household disinfectants are fine).
- Enhance the cleaning of high touch surfaces like doorknobs, toilet handles, and sink handles.
- Plan for when community spread occurs.
- Ensure you have a plan to designate a caregiver, such as a family member or neighbor, for a sick child(ren) if you can’t stay home.
- Know your child’s school plan to communicate with you when needed, such as robocalls, email, or checking their website.
- To find up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Iowa, please follow IDPH on Facebook and Twitter. You may also continue to check our website for updated information.
Preschool round-up will take place on Thursday, April 23 at the Lowden and Mechanicsville Elementary buildings. We invite incoming preschool students and their parents to attend a family fun night style round-up from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the preschool classrooms. Please note that your child must be four years of age by September 15, 2020, to attend preschool.
Kindergarten round-up is on Friday, April 24 at the Lowden and Mechanicsville Elementary buildings. Current preschool students will visit the kindergarten classroom from 8:15 to 11:00 a.m. Please note that your child must be five years of age by September 15, 2020, to attend kindergarten.
Please register for these important events by calling the Lowden Elementary office at (563) 941-5383 and the Mechanicsville Elementary office at (563) 432-6933.
Coach Sloth, an Iowa author, recently came to Lowden to talk to the kids about his background and where he gets the ideas for his books. Using one of his books, he talked about how we should stand up for ourselves and our friends to bullies. The students were great listeners and some even enjoyed a little participation in acting out the story.
As part of Read Across America, Mechanicsville Elementary had the treat of Coach Sloth visiting from Ames, Iowa. Coach Sloth is an author of children’s books, many of them featuring the character Sammy Sloth. He shared his message about never giving up and standing up to bullies.
On Monday, March 2, Mechanicsville Elementary kicked off Read Across America by celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday and inviting community members to share how they use reading in their jobs. Each classroom then had a community guest read a special book to them. We would like to send a special thank you to all our community readers including Lee Crock, farmer; Sarah Subbert, naturalist; Lonni and Jake Koch, ambulance and fire department; Tracy Schroeder, Bubba's Restaurant; Jane Pini, Mechanicsville Library and singer; Drew Montz, Coralville police officer; Cheryl Coppess, Bridge Community Bank; Adam Hadenfeldt, North Cedar coach; Dylan Montz, sports journalist; Jackie Kennon, KCRG reporter; and Morgan Wilson, lawyer, Iowa Legal Aid.
The Lowden Elementary Knight Pride groups met on Friday, February 28. This month we did them a little differently. Each grade level stayed together and listened to the book How to Catch a Leprechaun, made a leprechaun trap snack, and then kindergarten through sixth grade made their own leprechaun traps. They did a great job of working together and strategizing on what would work the best to catch a leprechaun.
On Thursday, February 27, 2020, 74 sophomores and juniors went to the Tipton County Fairgrounds. They participated in the Cedar County Career Fair. There were several businesses from the area available for students to connect with. This was to encourage education about their careers, and potential summer jobs/internships. There was a drawing for students who were able to connect with 10 or more businesses. Jaxon Sander, Jacob Sander, and Karly Cerda are the winners of Casey's gift cards!