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Pawnee Heights cancels classes due to COVID-19
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ROZEL — School was canceled until Nov. 29 at Pawnee Heights USD 496 starting Wednesday, Nov. 17, due to COVID-19. District Superintendent Brian Spencer said to think of it as an early start on the Thanksgiving break. He issued a statement to parents and students Tuesday evening:

More than 10% of the Pawnee Heights students were absent from school today. Some of those absences were due to confirmed COVID-19 cases. Those confirmed cases require the quarantine of the 6th-grade class as well as the middle school girls basketball team and cheerleading team. After significant research and exploration of options I have decided the best course of action for our student population is to cancel school beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 17 and resuming on Monday, Nov. 29. In essence, we will get an early start on Thanksgiving Break. School will not be held from Wednesday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 26.

This decision was not made lightly. I know child care is an issue for many of you. That is part of why we are simply canceling school as if this were a snow day. We are not moving to Remote Learning. Students will not be required, or even asked, to log on and attend classes. The only exception is the high school Spanish Classes that currently meet with Hodgeman County over ITV. Those classes will still be held as scheduled. (If you are in high school Spanish you need to continue to attend class.)

Another concession I am making is allowing teams to meet and practice during this time with the following guidelines:

• The practices will be optional, meaning that athletes can’t be removed from the team or reprimanded for not attending.

• The school will not be providing transportation. Students will need to have their own transportation to and from practice.

• The practice times will be separated by at least 30 minutes so there will not be an opportunity to “mingle” outside their group.

- The high school basketball teams will be allowed to practice during the entire break.

- The middle school boys will be able to hold practice during the entire break; however, the 6th-grade boys will not be able to attend practice until after Thursday, Nov. 25.

- The middle school girls basketball team and cheerleading team will not be able to practice until Monday, Nov. 22 and the 6th-grade girls can join them on Thursday, Nov. 25.

The Middle School Basketball game with Meade on Thursday, Nov. 18 is postponed and will be rescheduled to a later date. The Music Program scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 19, as well as the KAY Soup Supper, will be rescheduled to Tuesday, Dec. 7. Team pictures will be rescheduled as well.

This is a difficult situation and I apologize for the short notice, but when all things are considered this is what I feel is the best option for our students. Have a great extended Thanksgiving Vacation.