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Minnesota Schools Closed for Remainder of School Year, Distance Learning Continues
Borg Report April 23, 2020
Dear Westonka Families,
Governor Tim Walz announced Thursday that Minnesota schools will remain closed and will continue with distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This decision was made to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its impact on our healthcare system and vulnerable populations. This is not the news that we were hoping for, but we fully support the state’s decision to prioritize the health and safety of our community.
The situation surrounding COVID-19 has been ever evolving and, as a result, our district’s plans and procedures have adjusted several times. I hope that you have felt informed every step of the way.
We have many details to work out in the next few weeks, but here are some things we know today:
- Distance Learning - Westonka Schools will continue distance learning through the end of the year, building on the progress we have seen in recent weeks. In the governor's order, May 1 and May 4 are called out as teacher planning days, and students will not have class on those dates. We hope that staff and students are finding a good rhythm with distance learning. We recognize the challenges that come with this delivery model, and we appreciate everything our families are doing to support their students’ education while navigating their own obstacles. Please know that we’re all in this together, and Westonka Schools is here to support you however we can.
- School Buildings Closed - All Westonka Schools buildings will remain closed to students and the public through the end of the school year, with the exception of the emergency childcare program. Additionally, all Westonka Schools athletic fields, courts and playgrounds are closed to the public during the governor’s stay-at-home order.
- Food Support - Free meals will continue to be available to all students via curbside pickup outside the Westonka Performing Arts Center at Mound Westonka High School weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at designated bus stops for the remainder of the school year. No registration is required. More information is available at www.westonka.k12.mn.us/covid19/foodsupport.
- Emergency Childcare - Westonka Schools will continue to provide childcare for families of emergency workers Monday-Friday during the school closure. More information is available at www.westonka.k12.mn.us/covid19/childcare.
What we will announce as soon as we know:
- Personal Item Pick-Up and Device Return - In the coming weeks, we will be communicating a process for families to collect any remaining belongings left at the school, as well as to return school-issued iPads, Chromebooks and mobile hotspots at the end of the academic year. Please continue to watch district emails and school communications for this important information.
- Community Ed. Programs and Summer School - All in-person Westonka Community Education programming is canceled for the remainder of the school year. However, some youth and adult programming may be moved to an online format. We are also hopeful that many of our summer programs will move forward as scheduled. Watch for more communication about community ed. programming and summer school in the coming weeks. The Summer 2020 Community Ed. catalog is now available online.
- MWHS Graduation - Mound Westonka High School Class of 2020 families overwhelmingly supported a flexible date plan for graduation that prioritizes an in-person ceremony. As a result of school being closed for the remainder of the year, we will not be able to hold commencement on May 29. The next targeted date for a live graduation ceremony is Thursday, June 25. If that date cannot happen, MWHS will either hold an in-person or virtual ceremony on Thursday, July 23. Senior families will receive more information from the high school with regard to graduation and other spring events.
- [UPDATE TO ORIGINAL MESSAGE BASED ON DIRECTION FROM MSHSL] High School Spring Sports and Activities - Consistent with the governor’s order, the Minnesota State High School League has announced the cancellation of the 2020 spring season. The Westonka Activities Department will be in communication with spring sports participants about fee reimbursements in the coming days.
- Spring Events - All school events scheduled for the remainder of the year will not be held in person on their original date. Some events scheduled in May or early June may be rescheduled or moved to a virtual format. Our schools will be in contact with event updates, and also with information about refunds for canceled field trips and other activities.
Regardless if our school campuses are physically open or closed, we will continue to care for our students in every way possible. Westonka’s teachers and staff have done an incredible job navigating this unprecedented time and making the best of a difficult situation.
We are also greatly appreciative of our students and parents, as they continue to demonstrate remarkable resolve.
Thank you, one again, for your partnership, patience and grace. Our schools are closed but our hearts are open. I am so thankful and proud to be part of the Westonka community.