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Week 3 Superintendent's Update

Borg Report September 24, 2020

I want to thank you for another safe and productive week of school. We are nearing the end of week 3, and our staff and students have done a great job.  

Now that we are all beginning to settle into our new routines, the idea of having to shift school schedules might understandably cause some stress and anxiety. As I have shared this information multiple times, it is important that families understand our process for transitioning learning models so they are prepared to shift when we need to make a change. As a reminder, there are two main reasons that Westonka Schoolswould need to change learning models during the year:

  1. Community Impact of COVID-19
  2. School/District Impact of COVID-19

Community Impact of COVID-19

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has developed parameters using 14-day county public health data to help districts determine the appropriate learning models for their schools. Westonka continues to receive biweekly county-level COVID-19 case data from the state, as well as more localized data from Hennepin County. The most recent data released Sept. 24 show Hennepin County at a case rate of 14.91. The W/S Suburban Hennepin County area is currently at 12.9. Based on this data, as well as our school-level impacts of COVID-19, Westonka’s current model of in-person learning for primary schools and hybrid model for the middle and high schools continues to be appropriate.

Learning model chart

It’s important to note that if Hennepin County numbers suggest that Westonka should consider moving to a more restrictive or less restrictive learning model, it does not necessarily mean that we will be making an immediate change. If that situation occurs, Westonka will consult with a Regional Support Team, made up of representatives from MDH and the Minnesota Department of Education, to gain a better understanding of the local health landscape and determine whether a learning model change is warranted.

School Impact of COVID-19

Regardless of county-level data, an individual school or the district may need to change learning models during the year in reaction to significant numbers of students and/or staff members placed in quarantine. It is critical that we all continue to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school community. This includes following all prevention practices and safety protocols at school, as well as at social gatherings and other activities. Remember, if a school needs to switch to distance learning, all school activities (including athletics) will also switch to a distance format. 

Please remember to screen your student every day they will be learning in-person or participating in school activities using the Daily Self-Screening Checklist. If your student is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay home and not come to school. Contact your school’s attendance line or school nurse and let them know that your student is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Westonka will follow the MDH Decision Tree to determine when symptomatic individuals can return to school. 

Quarantine Process

All close contacts of a person(s) testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for at least 14 days after the last day they were in close contact with the person. 

  • Primary Schools: A positive case of COVID-19 in one of Westonka's primary school classrooms (student or teacher) would likely cause the entire class to quarantine and pivot to distance learning. This is due to the length of time students remain in the same cohort throughout the day and the tendency for younger students to break social distancing. 
  • Middle and High Schools: For positive cases at the middle and high school levels, close contacts (those within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer and others with direct exposure) would be quarantined.

Transition Time Between Models:

  • Primary School: 
    • If one or both of Westonka’s primary schools needs to switch from in-person to hybrid learning, families can expect a two-day transition period between learning models for rearrangement of classrooms and technology setup.
    • We ask that families who want childcare on distance learning days pre-register with Westonka Community Education. More information about how to pre-register for care is available on the Adventure Club website.
  • Middle and High School: 
    • If our secondary schools need to switch from hybrid to distance learning, we do not anticipate that any transition days will be needed.
    • If the middle and/or high school switches to in-person learning, families can expect a one-day transition period between learning models for rearrangement of classrooms.

Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership. As always, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kevin Borg, Superintendent
borgk@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8001