Virtual Learning Change/Update 8/28/2020


Van-Far R-1 Tribe:

Yesterday, we announced a move to virtual learning until September 9th.  I want to be clear that this move was not based on one asymptomatic case, but rather in response to our contact tracing.  This tracing effort identified numerous students and staff who were close contacts to the individual.  Again, close contact is defined as within six feet for longer than 15 minutes.  

When we shared our plan with the board and community, we were clear that not having enough staff to run an in-person school setting could cause us to move to virtual learning.  With the data we had, the impact that we saw, I made the decision with guidance from our health experts and the Audrain County Department of Health to move to virtual learning.  We needed the time to deep clean the buildings and reassess.  Again, our move to virtual learning was not based on cases, but on contact tracing.

We have had time to review our tracing logs, work with our admin team, and examine our resources. Custodial staff has time to deep clean the buildings/offices. Student contact tracing was limited to the Jr/Sr  High School, with minimal risk to our Elementary. One major concern was drivers, as some staff impacted included bus drivers. Obviously, not being able to get kids to school is an issue. 

Taking into consideration our resources and in communication with our health experts, we feel like we can safely bring back our elementary students. Working with our Transportation Director, we are adjusting routes to accommodate. 

Starting Tuesday, September 1, Elementary students will be back to in-person learning. Jr/Sr High School will remain virtual through September 9th with everyone back to in-person learning on September 10th. With the number of known close contacts at the Jr/Sr High School, we feel the risk is too high to move away from virtual learning.

If you have an elementary student who is a brother/sister of a student in isolation (not COVID-19 positive), please keep that younger student home if the older child is experiencing symptoms.  

The Van-Far R-1 District places student and staff safety at the top of the list of priorities. As we are in unprecedented times, we may be forced to make decisions that do not give us a great amount of time to communicate..  As with any major decision, we are processing what went right and what we can improve on.  Understand that we WANT your child in school, educators NEED your child in school.  It’s why we do this.  We want to do it safely for all.  

In Education,

John Fortney


Van-Far R-1 Schools