Benton Community Schools

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ Page

*This site was last updated on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 11:15 AM. Please know that the information may not be up-to-date immediately as the pace in which we receive information is unpredictable. We will do our best to keep this up-to-date.

Information will be communicated on the Benton CSD Facebook page and via email/SchoolMessenger.

Frequently Asked Questions Page & Communications

Regarding Benton Community Schools, School Closure, and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted March 24, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Our teachers are actively working on developing virtual learning resources for your students to be learning at home.

The opportunities & resources are NOT services or direct instruction.

Please know that all virtual learning resources at this time are optional and NOT required.

We are not able to assign a grade or require specific assignments at this time.

However, we are excited about the latest changes at the Federal level that allow our teachers to connect with your student and provide virtual learning resources.

Note: The Benton Community staff have attempted to provide equitable access to these opportunities for all learners with the best of intentions.

Thank you,

Office of the Superintendent and all of the Benton Community Administration

Queridos padres y guardianes:

Nuestros maestros están trabajando activamente en el desarrollo de recursos de aprendizaje virtual para que sus estudiantes aprendan en casa.

Las oportunidades y recursos NO son servicios o instrucción directa.

Tenga en cuenta que todos los recursos de aprendizaje virtual en este momento son opcionales y NO son obligatorios.

No podemos asignar una calificación o exigir tareas específicas en este momento.

Sin embargo, estamos entusiasmados con los últimos cambios a nivel federal que permiten a nuestros maestros conectarse con su estudiante y proporcionar recursos de aprendizaje virtual.

Nota: El personal de la comunidad de Benton ha intentado proporcionar acceso equitativo a estas oportunidades para todos los estudiantes con las mejores intenciones.


Oficina del Superintendente y toda la Administración de la Comunidad de Benton

Posted March 21, 2020

As a reminder, the Food for Kids will begin Monday, March 23. Please review the previous email and voicemail sent. See information below:

Dear Bobcat Families,

In an effort to get food to students throughout the district, Benton Community is partnering with local community organizations. We want to thank all of the community locations and volunteers willing to assist with this endeavor. The Food For Kids is for ANY child, ages 1 - 18 regardless of where they live or attend school. Central Lutheran is partnering with Benton Community to assist with Food For Kids.

Please review the details and drop-off location information at this link --- AND sent to you on email and posted on our Facebook and webpage.

Meals will be offered at pick-up locations throughout the district. Please be considerate of the health and safety and others. Follow guidance around social distancing during this process. There will be a volunteer monitoring the location from a distance.

Take only the meals needed for the children in your household. These bagged meals are intended for those 18 years and younger (ages 1 to 18).

Parents are responsible to see that the food items are appropriate for each child’s age and will provide supervision for any potential food allergens. Parents are also required to determine food proportions, potential choking hazards, caloric intake, etc…

The Benton Community School District is not responsible for anything related to this food distribution.

Families are asked to email or call and “place an order” for the number of meals needed by your family by 8 AM (this is subject to change) each day and the location where you will be picking up the meal. This will help us ensure enough meals are available in each community. Phone messages and emails will be checked daily.

The email for sending in your sack lunch order is: Or call 319-228-8701, Extension 119

The lunch bags will contain food intended to be consumed within 2 hours or placed in a refrigerated space. The bag will also include a breakfast item for the next morning.

Information will continue to be communicated through email and social media. This plan is subject to change based on the Iowa Department of Health and State of Iowa’s guidance.

Stay safe and healthy,

Ms. Anna Upah - Curriculum and Instructional Services Administrator

Mrs. Jane Sveska - Food Service Director

Dr. Pamela Ewell, Superintendent

Mr. Doug Embray, Associate Superintendent

Dr. James Bieschke - Principal HS/MS, Rob Arnold-Principal MS, Shawn Pfiffner - AD & Assist. Principal, Phillip Eastman - Principal Norway, Ryan Junge -Principal Keystone, Jason West - Principal Atkins

Mr. Frank Parris, Central Lutheran

Estimadas familias de Bobcat,

En un esfuerzo por llevar comida a los estudiantes de todo el distrito, Benton Community se está asociando con organizaciones comunitarias locales. Queremos agradecer a todas las ubicaciones de la comunidad y voluntarios dispuestos a ayudar con este esfuerzo.

Revise los detalles y la información de ubicación de devolución que le enviamos por correo electrónico y que publicamos en nuestro Facebook y página web.

Se ofrecerán comidas en los puntos de recogida en todo el distrito. Por favor sea considerado con la salud y seguridad y otros. Siga la orientación sobre el distanciamiento social durante este proceso. Habrá un voluntario monitoreando la ubicación desde la distancia.

Tome solo las comidas necesarias para los niños de su hogar. Estas comidas en bolsas están destinadas a los mayores de 18 años (de 1 a 18 años).

Los padres son responsables de ver que los alimentos sean apropiados para la edad de cada niño y supervisarán cualquier posible alérgeno alimentario. Los padres también deben determinar las proporciones de los alimentos, los posibles riesgos de asfixia, la ingesta calórica, etc.

El Distrito Escolar de la Comunidad de Benton no es responsable de nada relacionado con esta distribución de alimentos.

Se les pide a las familias que envíen un correo electrónico o llamen y “hagan un pedido” para la cantidad de comidas que su familia necesita para las 8 AM (esto está sujeto a cambios) cada día y el lugar donde recogerán la comida. Esto nos ayudará a asegurar que haya suficientes comidas disponibles en cada comunidad. Los mensajes telefónicos y correos electrónicos serán revisados diariamente.

El correo electrónico para enviar su pedido de almuerzo es: o llame al 319-228-8701, Extensión 119

Las bolsas de almuerzo contendrán alimentos destinados a ser consumidos dentro de 2 horas o colocados en un espacio refrigerado. La bolsa también incluirá un artículo de desayuno para la mañana siguiente.

La información continuará siendo comunicada por correo electrónico y redes sociales. Este plan está sujeto a cambios según la orientación del Departamento de Salud de Iowa y el estado de Iowa.

Mantente seguro y saludable

Posted March 18, 2020


Schools are in a rather difficult situation with providing eLearning or online learning. While we would like to be able to do this, the state department would have previously needed to approve e-learning or online learning for the course to receive credit or grading. Additionally, any courses or learning offered could not be required for students to complete.

Additional detail regarding eLearning/Virtual or online learning:

  • Online courses or learning would need to go through the approval process, as Des Moines has, to be used with students. Right now the Department of Education (DE) lacks the code authority to grant waivers allowing districts to use virtual learning to replace face-to-face learning to meet minimum hours or days requirements. At this time, instructional hours loss as a result of COVID-19 has been forgiven by Governor Reynolds and the legislative branch through April 12th.

  • Additionally, the DE reiterated that any eLearning can neither be mandatory nor graded nor be for credit nor counted for students. Again, we have been advised to hold all plans and communication to parents until we hear differently.

We do encourage our parents and guardians to access a repository of suggested online resources by accessing the link above on this page titled, "Digital Resources"

Posted March 17, 2020

Due to the recent notice by the Office of the Governor, issuing a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency, we have decided to wait and NOT open up the buildings so that students and parents could retrieve school items out of lockers. If situations change, we will notify our students and families. Thank you for understanding.

Governor Kim Reynolds signed SF 2408, legislation that creates emergency measures and supplemental appropriations for key government services to combat the spread of COVID-19. One key piece to this legislation involves schools ----authorizes the Governor to waive school instructional time requirements for schools that close due to the COVID-19 virus.

This legislation allows school districts to discuss and determine the remaining number of school days for the 2019-20 school calendar. Please stay tuned to updates.


Email communication sent to all Parents & Guardians:

This is a message from the Benton Community School District.

Benton Community and Central Lutheran school districts will close for a total of four weeks following a recommendation made by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Sunday night, March 15, to alleviate the spread of COVID-19.

To repeat, we are closed from Monday, March 15 until April 12, 2020.

Please access our school website and our FAQ page for continued updates and responses to questions that we have received in regard to the school closure. We will continue to post updates and deploy messages to keep everyone informed when we have information to share.

This is an unprecedented situation and we are navigating things as quickly as we are able. This is a very fluid situation and when new information is sent out to the school, we are working diligently to determine the impact it may or may not have. We appreciate your patience given our current situation.

We are passionate about our school district, our students, staff, and families and we will miss seeing our students in school during the next few weeks. We wish you the best during this challenging time and hope that you are able to enjoy some warm weather coming soon.

If you are able, please access our website to utilize the list of resources for your students. We will continue adding valuable educational and recreational resources to this site.

Thank you,

The Office of the Superintendent

Dr. Pamela Ewell

Posted March 16, 2020

Online learning resources for parents/guardians:

BC Students and Families,

The intent of this newsletter is to provide students and families with information on digital resources to access remotely to maintain academic skills during this COVID-19 school closure. The school closure situation is fluid. As a district, we will continue to provide information as it becomes available.

At this point, the plan is to provide an updated list of digital curricular resources each week school is closed. Again, this may change as information and direction become available at the federal and state levels.

We know and understand these digital resources can in no way replace or replicate the impact teachers have on students in a collaborative, in-person learning environment. If you have specific questions about the resources shared, please reach out to Anna Upah, Director of Curriculum and Instructional Services. (

As always, our goal is to provide Bobcats with a Quality Education for a Lifetime of Learning. Through all of this, we will show that Benton Community truly is A Place to Belong.

Will students be required to make-up all of the days missed?

We received guidance from the Governor's office today stating they are reviewing the instructional time requirement (180 days or 1,080 hours) and as of around 5:00 p.m. today, we received news the Iowa Legislature has waived the requirement allowing school districts to forgive some if not all of the make up days or hours.

Latest Resources from the CDC

Posted March 15, 2020

As of March 16, 2020 - School will be closed until April 12. No activities, no events, no practices, no use of school facilities or fields until further notice. No Parent-Teacher Conferences on March 16.

On March 15, 2020, the Governor's office recommended that Iowa schools close for 4 weeks. We are expecting more information to follow in regard to the exact nature of closing and directives.

We will send out information for students/parents entering the buildings if they need to pick up student backpacks and/or materials. We hope to be able to inform you about this process tomorrow 3-17-20.


All of the information shown below was prior to the Governor's recommendation to close schools for 4 weeks. 3-15-20

Will parent teacher conferences continue as planned on March 16, 2020?

No Parent-Teacher conferences for Monday, March 16, 2020. Additional information will be forthcoming as to how we will reschedule conferences.

When is the District closing schools?

District operations and student learning continue as normal. The District is reviewing the situation on a daily basis. We will close if directed by the Governor's office, Department of Education, Department of Public Health, or CDC.

Is the District allowing student trips?

The District has recommended the postponement or cancellation of all international travel as well as all domestic travel outside of Iowa until further notice.

Parents and students involved with the trip to Spain in June will have a meeting next week. Please communicate with your high school teacher at Benton Community School District.

A virtual meeting is being held for students and families who are signed up to participate in the Spain trip. Please see communication via email from Mr. Liddle regarding access to this virtual meeting.

Does the District have recommendations for private independent student travel?

The CDC has identified 28 additional countries with a Level 3 Travel Notice, meaning avoid all non-essential travel due to widespread or ongoing transmission of COVID-19. The full list of countries identified with a Level 3 Travel Warning can be found here: The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that anyone who visits these countries voluntarily self-isolates for 14 days upon their return.

Is the District prohibiting private independent staff travel?

The CDC has identified 28 additional countries with a Level 3 Travel Notice, meaning avoid all non-essential travel due to widespread or ongoing transmission of COVID-19. The full list of countries identified with a Level 3 Travel Warning can be found here: The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that anyone who visits these countries voluntarily self-isolates for 14 days upon their return.

Employees unable to return to the country due to voluntary travel to a country that is part of the European travel ban will need to use available leave for the days they are excluded from returning to the U.S. Sick leave is only available if the employee is required to observe a COVID-19 self-isolation period or other CDC / IDPH recommendation, and will require a physician clearance to return to work.

What is the plan for school Activities and Events?

We will continue to hold our own scheduled school events and activities unless otherwise announced. Decisions will be made a week at a time.

Given the fluid situation and changing landscape locally and at the state and national level, we will make decisions about our activities with the best interest and care for our students as well as guidance from the Department of Public Health, CDC, or Governor’s office. The following upcoming events and activities are as announced:

  • March 17 - Breakfast at Atkins - rescheduled for May 17, 7:30 - 8:15 a.m.

  • March 18 - Middle School Dance - as scheduled unless otherwise announced

  • March 21 - Senior shootout (scheduled but uncertain if other schools are attending, announcement to be made)

  • March 24: 6th - 8th grade - Band and vocal solo ensemble -- will be internally held at Benton Community

Is the District sending staff to conferences outside the District?

The District is suspending all future out of state professional development registration and travel requests until further notice.

Will my child’s absences be excused?

Yes, any COVID-19 related absences will be excused. The District has suspended the distribution of absence letters until further notice.

What is the District doing about make-up work for missed classes?

At this time, the District is following its current practices regarding make-up work and missed assignments when a family chooses to keep their child(ren) at home. At this time, the District is not providing advanced make-up assignments and missed school work for families that are choosing to keep students home for extended periods of time.

My child attends class at the Kirkwood Regional Center and I have been told they have canceled classes. Is that true?

Beginning March 23 through at least April 10, Kirkwood Regional Center will not have students attend any of their regularly scheduled classes. Both Arts and Science and Career and Technical Education (CTE) instructors will be delivering course content and material through an online format. Instructors will be reaching out to their students with instructions and expectations on how to access course material. It is imperative that your students check and review their Kirkwood email during this time frame. This is Kirkwood’s official method of communication to students. Students are still expected to attend their classes at the home high school.

Will the District provide opportunities for online learning if schools close?

As of now, the District is holding school as scheduled. If the District does need to cancel school, there is currently no indication from the State that any type of online learning (Secondary only) time or days can count for missed days of school. Therefore, these would not count as student instructional days and could be made up at the end of the school year. The best option right now is exploring enrichment opportunities that could be made available to students or ways students could voluntarily continue their learning at home.

My child has an IEP. Will special education services be provided if schools close?

As of now, we are not closing schools. However if schools would need to be closed, the guidance we have received indicates the school District is not responsible for the IEP services. If this changes, we will communicate to families of students with IEP's.

If school is closed, will students still receive meals?

We know that many of our students depend on the meals they receive at school. However, we do not have a means to distribute meals to students.

Is the District cleaning buildings regularly?

Yes, the District has a regular cleaning schedule for all buildings. In addition to the measures already in place, the District will conduct cleaning procedures - as recommended by the CDC. This will include cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

While school is in session, I would like my child to wear a facemask. Is that allowed?

Per the CDC, IDPH, and JCPH, face masked should only be worn by individuals that are symptomatic as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Staff and students should not wear masks while at school. If an individual wears a mask to school, he or she will be asked if they are sick or symptomatic. If the individual answers, yes. The individual (student or staff member) will be sent home. If the individual answers that they are not sick, he or she will be asked to remove the mask if staying at school. As always, parents, students, and staff must make the decision that is best for them and their household and should choose to stay at home if they do not feel it is in their best interest to remain at school without a mask as a precaution.

My child rides the bus. Are you making any changes to transportation?

Busing and student transportation services will continue in the current operational capacity.

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