Covid-19 Updates

October 28, 2020

Community Health Manager Tara Geddes, RN, MHA, updated the status of the county’s coronavirus situation this week. “We are continuing to see quite a few active cases,” Geddes said. “While there are no specific events/outbreaks that are causing our rate to increase we are continuing to see trends of exposures at group gatherings such as weddings, funerals and parties. In addition to these events the spread within households remains high. This reinforces the need to ensure that household contacts of positive individuals complete the 14 day quarantine,” she explained.

The Iowa Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control are investigating changes in quarantine periods and close contact definitions, but they are still determining if the data would support the change.

Another development is that the Floyd Valley Hospital has received a rapid antigen testing machine for school students and staff. “This will provide individuals with a test result in 15 minutes,” said Geddes. “We just recently received the machine through IDPH and will need to complete required validation measures on it before we can begin offering this test to staff and students,” she explained. They will notify the school when it is available - possibly in the next couple weeks.

She added that this test will only be used for symptomatic individuals and this test does not change the 14-day quarantine requirement for close contacts not wearing masks.

September 29, 2020

Following the guidelines of the Iowa Department of Public Health, Remsen St. Mary’s Schools has changed it’s quarantine policy. Effective Monday, Sept. 28, at St. Mary’s, if students wore masks when they were in close contact of a positive case, they would not be required to quarantine. It is important to note that if either individual was not wearing a mask, they would still be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Based on data the state has received on the effectiveness of masks, the IDPH will no longer require close contacts of a positive case to quarantine for 14 days if masks were worn at all times. This applies to non-healthcare settings. Plymouth County has decided to implement these guidelines, as well.

Situations that would still require quarantine include:

-household close contacts

-activities where students are not wearing masks, such as band, lunch, sports, etc.

-individuals with waivers for wearing masks

-ill individuals who are already quarantined at this time

St. Mary’s Schools will continue to implement:

-frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer

-daily disinfecting of high-touch surfaces

-masks required in common areas and when physical distancing is not possible

St. Mary’s Schools will continue to recommend:

-parents/guardians keeping students with coughs, fever, runny noses at home

-getting a flu shot

 July 28, 2020

The following letter includes the Remsen St. Mary's Schools' Return to Learn plan. School administration and staff are committed to the safety and well-being of all students and employees. They will continue to work toward the school opening date, scheduled for Monday, August 24, and will continue to update everyone regularly with information and preparations.

July 10, 2020
Remsen St. Mary's Schools staff and administration have been meeting regularly to develop a Return to Learn Plan. As of now, school will begin, in person, on Monday, August 24. Administration will continue to monitor both the state and diocesan directives.
Return to Learn

June 15, 2020
What is COVID Recovery Iowa? COVID-19 has significantly impacted Iowa’s work and education schedules. And many Iowans are lying awake at night, knowing that their children aren’t getting enough to eat. COVID Recovery Iowa can help Iowans cope with a number of issues related to the pandemic. Helping to connect families to food resources is one of them. Individual counseling is another. Anxiety, loneliness, anger and sense of loss are all perfectly normal reactions Iowans are having to the pandemic. But this crisis doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. You may feel fine and confident one day and overwhelmed the next. Your family members and colleagues may feel things differently – and at different times – than you. Sometimes we just need someone else to listen.The state of Iowa has announced a new program to help Iowans cope. COVID Recovery Iowa offers free, confidential counseling to any Iowan who wants it. The program is also offering a number of activities, including yoga, cooking classes, parent resources and more, to help Iowans through this stressful time. You can find out more at, or simply call 844-775-9276 to be connected to resources. Remember, the virtual counseling sessions are free and confidential, and available to every Iowan.

June 5, 2020

May 22, 2020

Dear RSM families and students,

Many of you have heard by now that Governor Reynolds announced that high school summer athletic seasons may proceed starting with practice on June 1 and contests starting June 15.  We will be sharing guidance with coaches on how to conduct successful seasons while keeping everyone safe.

For practices beginning on June 1:
·        Players and coaches should check temperatures daily before attending practices.
·        Anyone with symptoms (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, sore throat, etc.) should stay home, and is not allowed to practice
·        Parents must remain in cars, or drop off and pick up players from practice
·        Players should use their own equipment as much as possible, bring their own water bottles, and a supply of hand sanitizer
·        Spitting of sunflower seed shells is strictly prohibited

For games beginning on June 15:
·        All of the above guidelines apply, and…
·        Schools must limit the use of bleachers for fans.  They will be used for single seating only, socially distanced.  Families wanting to sit together should bring chairs or blankets and socially distance from other spectators. 
·        Spectators should not attend games if they have symptoms
·        We would encourage families who can transport their player, do so, but we will have more guidance on transportation next week. 
·        Concession stands will not be open

We are thrilled our high school students will be allowed to participate in summer sports, especially for our seniors in their last season of play. We also need to emphasize that all other sports are still suspended, so there will be no open gym, weightlifting, etc. for other sports at this time.  In order for us to have a safe, successful season, we will be relying on everyone to do their part in observing the guidelines above and practicing safe behavior during practices and contests.  We encourage you to share this information with any friends or family members who might not receive this email and will need this information as a spectator. 

Again, we want to thank our students and families for the continued support of our school and our students this spring.  We are thankful for all the efforts of students and families to engage in continuous learning, and for the efforts of our teachers. 

Patty Lansink, HS Principal                               Kim Phillips, Lead Teacher

May 1, 2020:

Greetings RSM staff, families, and students,
I wanted to send out an update on end-of-year planning for this unforgettable 2019-20 school year.  

First, baccalaureate and commencement for our Senior Class of 2020 has been moved to June 21, 2020.  We will send out more information as this date gets closer.  We also solicited feedback on canceling or postponing prom.  The majority of the feedback we received either didn't have a preference, or felt prom was not among our top priorities at this point, so it has been decided to cancel for this year and look forward to next.  

We received more guidance from the Iowa Department of Education yesterday on grades, credits, etc. and will have that ready to share out hopefully by the middle of next week.  We will also try to have information on the end date for this year, and the start date for 2020-21 to help everyone plan ahead.  

We appreciate your patience as we all navigate this together.  Some information comes so fast we can hardly absorb and process it fast enough, while other times we are waiting on answers from decision-makers and don't always have it as quickly as we need it.  

In the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out with questions and concerns, and we will do our very best to get timely answers for all of you.  Thank you again for all you are doing to support our staff, families and students during this challenging 4th quarter. 

Stay safe and God bless you.

Patty Lansink, 9-12 Principal
Ron Olberding, PK-8 Principal
Kim Phillips, Lead Teacher

April 17, 2020:

April 6, 2020:

RSM staff and families,
As many of you already know, late last week Governor Reynolds ordered Iowa schools to remain closed through April 30, 2020.  In addition, the Iowa Department of Education is requiring all schools to  consider options for continuous learning through the rest of this month and  make a decision by April 10th .  Two options would not require us to make up school days or hours, and  include continued enrichment as we have been doing,  or required learning activities which would be graded and awarded credit.  A third option is to do nothing at all, but this would require us to make up days.  

RSM staff will be meeting early this week  to make a decision that is best for our learners and our community, and will keep everyone informed as soon as a decision is reached.  In the meantime, please know you are all in our daily prayers and we are here to help in any way we can.  If you haven't seen Bishop Nickless' recent message to his flock, you can access it here:  Additionally, we are including information from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding praying the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Good Friday. The prayer is attached, and you can find more information here:

Patty Lansink, 9-12 Principal
Ron Olberding, PK-8 Principal
Kim Phillips, Lead Teacher

March 30, 2020:

March 20, 2020: