- Westonka Public Schools
- District Home
Minnesota's Safe Learning Plan Announcement
Borg Report July 30, 2020
As you know, Westonka Public Schools leaders have spent the past months creating contingency plans for the fall around three scenarios: in-person instruction, distance learning, and a hybrid of the two. This afternoon, Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, along with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year. In contrast to what was previously communicated by the state about a start-of-school decision being made this week, the plan announced today allows school districts to operate in a learning model that is responsive to the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in their communities.
MDH has developed parameters using 14-day county public health data to help our district determine the appropriate learning model for the start of the 2020-21 school year. Today, as directed by the state, I requested a consultation with our Regional Support Team (a partnership between MDE, MDH, regional service cooperatives and local public health) to help us interpret and utilize local data in our plans. We plan to provide an update to staff and families on Tuesday, Aug. 4, along with our Road to Reopening Survey results.
We know that many of you were hoping to receive a decision today with regard to the start of school. We also understand that the Westonka community, staff, parents and students have diverse perspectives on how school should operate this fall. We are working diligently on the new steps outlined by the state today to provide more direction as soon as possible. We remain focused on implementing our plans safely and maximizing opportunities for our students' learning. To do this, we need to be incredibly flexible, problem solve together, and show empathy for differing viewpoints and individual circumstances, as our schools serve ALL students.
I am incredibly thankful for our Westonka staff who have extended themselves, many working outside of their contract, to ensure we have a successful start to the school year.
I want to update you on a few important items:
August 10 School Board Meeting - On Monday, August 10, the district will present the Westonka School Board with detailed plans for the three educational models outlined by the state (in-person, distance and hybrid learning) and present a recommendation for how we will start the 2020-21 school year. Regardless of how we begin the year, we know that any of these scenarios could apply at different times during the year based on county health data.
- The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Westonka Performing Arts Center. In accordance with public health regulations, we can accommodate up to 150 people in the PAC. Per Executive Order 20-81, everyone in attendance must wear a face covering, and social distancing will be strictly enforced. All visitors must complete the COVID-19 Self-Screening Checklist prior to attending the meeting.
- This meeting will also be streamed live to the district’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/WestonkaEdge.
Distance Learning Only Registration - Even if Westonka is able to open with some form of in-person instruction, we understand that may not be what’s best for every student and family. Students will be able to continue in a distance learning only format if they so choose. In the coming weeks, we will be communicating a registration process for students/families wishing to pursue 100% distance learning this fall.
Masks and Health Protections - As you are likely aware, a statewide mask mandate went into effect in Minnesota on July 25. Per the governor’s executive order, all students (K-12), staff, and other people present in school buildings and district offices or riding on school transportation vehicles are required to wear a face covering. More information about Executive Order 20-81 is available here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html. You will receive more information from Westonka Schools in August about safe mask wearing in school, as well as other health and safety measures.
Subs Needed - We anticipate that will be in need of a larger pool of substitutes this school year in order to keep school operational. Please consider supporting your local schools by becoming a sub. Learn more about these needed substitute positions by following the links below.
- Substitute Teachers - We have increased the Short Call Substitute Teacher rate of pay to $175.00/day during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Westonka will reimburse the PELSB licensure fee ($91.95) once you have subbed for five full days in a Westonka assignment. Learn more and apply: https://www.applitrack.com/westonka/onlineapp/jobpostings/view.asp?internaltransferform.Url=&category=Substitute
- Paraprofessional & Health Services Subs - https://www.applitrack.com/westonka/onlineapp/jobpostings/view.asp?internaltransferform.Url=&category=Support+Staff
- School Bus/Van Drivers - https://www.applitrack.com/westonka/onlineapp/jobpostings/view.asp?internaltransferform.Url=&category=Transportation
Child Care - The district is looking into using community spaces to help provide additional care for families in need this fall. Watch for more communication from Westonka Community Education and Services with regard to child care registration.
School Offices Reopening - Now through August 7, Westonka school offices will be open by appointment only. Starting Monday, August 10, offices will reopen for registration and other needs. Visit our school websites for office hours.
Graduation - On July 23, Mound Westonka High School held a long-awaited graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Haddorff Field. Our graduates were able to come together as a class one last time, and their parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members and friends were able to cheer them on from home via a professional livestream. I am so proud of these incredibly resilient and remarkable new Westonka alumni, as well as the MWHS staff who made sure they were never forgotten and were celebrated all along the way.
We know there are still many unanswered questions about what learning will look like this fall. Our team is committed to doing what’s best for our school community and will continue to keep you informed every step of the way. Please continue to watch for important updates via email and on the district website as we prepare for the start of school. I hope you and your family are having a safe and enjoyable summer.