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Superintendent's Update Oct. 13, 2020

Borg Report October 13, 2020

As we head into MEA Break, I want to provide another update on Westonka Public Schools’ COVID-19 Safe Learning Plans.

I continue to be impressed by how staff, students and families are working together to limit classroom exposure to COVID-19. I want to thank all of you for diligently following our district’s health and safety protocols and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Decision Tree to ensure safe learning/working environments for all. As I have said before, hand washing, social distancing, mask wearing and daily symptom screening is our best game plan in staying open during this pandemic.

Update on Community Impact of COVID-19

Westonka’s learning model decisions this year will center on the impact of COVID-19 at the school level, including our ability to staff our buildings, while maintaining awareness of changes in viral activity in the community. The district continues to receive biweekly county-level COVID-19 case data from the state, as well as more localized data from Hennepin County. In the midst of our district’s positive start, we are seeing rising cases of COVID-19 in the county and in the Westonka area.

As a reminder, MDH has developed parameters using 14-day county public health data to help districts determine the appropriate learning models for their schools (see chart below). The most recent county report released Oct. 8 shows the W/S Suburban Hennepin County area (which includes the Westonka District) at a 14-day case rate of 16.3 per 10,000 people.

Learning model chart

We are closely monitoring the local health situation. At the point that our area case rate rises above 20, I will schedule a consultation with our 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 receive a learning model recommendation. Following that consultation, Westonka’s District Support Team - made up of District Nurse Kelly Mattson, a committee of the Westonka School Board and myself - will meet to discuss the direction of our consultation, review the requirements we must follow, and determine whether or not a learning model change is warranted. 

Again, our learning model decisions will center on the school-level impact of COVID-19, which includes staffing our buildings, and our ability to deliver safe and quality education for all.

Preparing for the Possibility of Transition

As a reminder, the next transition Westonka would likely see is "hybrid learning for all students," which would mean Westonka’s primary schools would move from the in-person learning model to the hybrid learning model. The middle and high schools would remain in their current hybrid model. 

We strongly encourage primary school households to review the hybrid model plan posted on your school website and have a family plan in place in the event a change is needed. As another reminder, if you will need childcare for your student(s) on distance learning days, please visit the Adventure Club website for registration information.

If Westonka’s primary schools need to switch from in-person to hybrid learning, families can expect advance notice to prepare for this change, which will include a two-day transition/no school period between learning models for rearrangement of classrooms and technology setup. 

You can expect to receive an update on our district’s response to COVID-19 next week. In the meantime, please have a safe and enjoyable MEA Break.

Sincerely,

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