Ottumwa High School

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa school district said Wednesday it is targeting an April 13 return for students. The buildings will remain closed until that time.

In an email sent early Wednesday evening, the district said the current plans can change, but that it wanted parents and students to have an idea of what the schedule is. The district went on spring break last week, shortly before Gov. Kim Reynolds urged Iowa’s schools to close to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

If classes resume April 13, students will have been out of class for four weeks, but only three of those will have been missed class time. The district said days missed because of the outbreak do not need to be made up.

The email included an announcement that prom is still slated for May 2, with the caveat that if schools are closed longer “we will reassess that decision.”

Ottumwa’s commencement also remains set for May 24, subject to the same warning.

The full email is below:

OHS Students and Families,

We know that this is an uncertain time for all of you, especially for those of you that are seniors and looking forward to graduation.  We want you to know that we are remaining diligent to ensure your care and safety while remaining on top of the latest updates and news coming from our state and national decision-makers.  We recognize that many of you have questions about what school looks like moving forward and how this impacts you. Here is what we know right now.  

School will resume on Monday, April 13th.  The days missed during the Coronavirus outbreak will not have to be made up.  This brings into question many items that many of you may be asking.  

1. Will Prom still happen?

Based on the information that we have today, yes, prom will still be held on May 2nd.  If we receive information that schools are closed beyond April 13th then we will reassess that decision.  

2. How can I request transcripts for college?

You can still request transcripts using the following methods.  Someone will check multiple times a week to process these for you.

Email:  You can email your request to transcripts@ottumwaschools.com.  Be sure to include the following information:

Name when attending school (maiden name if applicable)

Current mailing address and phone number

Date of birth

Year of graduation or year dropped

Number of copies needed

Complete mailing address of where to send the transcript

Copy of photo ID must be attached to an email request or it will not be processed. 

U.S. Mail:  Attn: Registrar, Ottumwa High School, 501 East Second Street, Ottumwa IA. 52501.  In your letter, please include:

Name when attending school (maiden name if applicable)

Current mailing address and phone number

Date of birth

Year of graduation or year dropped

Number of copies needed

Complete mailing address of where to send the transcript

Copy of your photo ID (must be able to read ID & see photo)

Make certain that you sign and date your letter of request that you are mailing. 

3. What school work am I responsible for doing?

Your teachers have been directed by the state to offer suggestions and optional learning guidance for you.  However, your responsibility to continue learning is very critical during the closure. As an HS student, you know where you are in your classes; search CK-12 or Khan Academy through Clever and keep it going on your own.  Remember, teachers are available for any questions or concerns you have. 

If you are in concurrent enrollment classes, you are expected to complete the course and participate in learning as your teacher directs you to. 

4. Will I still be able to graduate? Will there be a graduation ceremony? 

The State of Iowa has directed public schools to determine graduation expectations locally. More information will be coming on high school credit issuance. Right now, we are working from the viewpoint that we are coming back on April 13th.  If this changes, we will update graduation expectations. If we are allowed to come back to school and gather in large groups, OHS will hold a graduation ceremony as currently scheduled.

5. How can I get student meals?

Ottumwa Schools, in partnership with the Ottumwa YMCA, Bridge View Center, The Bridge Church, and other community partners is offering grab and go meals at lunch and dinner. Please see the district’s website for locations and times. 

6. Who can I reach out to for support?

If you are in need of social/emotional support, please contact your school guidance counselor via email. 

7. How can I get items from school?

Schools are now closed until April 13. 

8. Will this last longer than April 13th? What does that mean for us? 

Please do not jump to the worst conclusions.  Schools are working closely with the state and all of their guidance encourages schools to use good judgment and leniency when determining credit.  Take it upon yourself to continue learning. Go to the district web page and find the online resources. Read. Write. Keep that brain sharp!

9. Do I have to finish my concurrent enrollment classes? 

We sincerely hope you continue your college pursuits.  When you enrolled in your concurrent enrollment class(es), you started your college transcript and are therefore required to follow the direction of Indian Hills Community College.  IHCC has either waived or extended their midterm grades and is in discussion about drop procedures currently. There is still a high likelihood that failing to complete your course will result in an “F” on your college transcript.  Your HS teachers and IHCC teachers have worked hard to learn a new system. Please give it a shot and don’t give up. 

10. What about my AP classes?

AP classes are required to follow guidance of all PK-12 classes.  No direct instruction; teachers are to offer support and suggestions. The College Board has modified the AP exams; content modifications can be found on the AP website by test. Spring 2020 tests will be offered online so students can test at home if necessary.  

Go to: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update to read more. College Board, the originator of Advance Placement, posted this information: 

Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, students and teachers can attend free, live AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country.  These mobile-friendly classes are:

Designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools.

Will be recorded and available on-demand so teachers and students can access them any time.

Not dependent on current AP teachers continuing instruction. We know many AP teachers now face challenges that would make that impossible.

Will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. There will also be some supplementary lessons including topics from the final 25% of the course.

— Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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