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Distance Learning Transition

Borg Report November 19, 2020

Everyone has processed a lot of communication and adjustments this past week. I understand the challenges you face as a result of the recent changes that have come from the district and from the state, and I appreciate the efforts staff, parents and students are making. The purpose of this message is to communicate upcoming dates and the most recent Executive Order 20-99.

Transition to Edge21 Distance Learning

Over the past week, we have seen cases of COVID-19 in our community continue to increase sharply. According to data released November 17, the 14-day trend in cases per 10,000 residents in Hennepin County increased this week from 58.2 to 98.7. Furthermore, the W/S Suburban Hennepin County rate more than doubled from 52 to 111, rising above the county average for the first time this school year. Westonka Schools also received three new reports of in-school positive cases this week, as reported in our COVID-19 Dashboard.

Westonka’s teachers and administrators are working hard to ensure the move to distance learning is as smooth as it can be. All students should have by now received their distance learning schedule.

November 23 & 24: 

  • Distance learning for grades 5-12
  • No school for grades E-4 (Professional Days)

November 25-27:

  • No school for all students (Professional Day and Thanksgiving Break)

November 30-January 3:

  • Distance learning for grades E-12
  • Free school meals will be available to all students during distance learning via curbside pickup and delivery to advertised bus stops. Please check the Westonka Foodies website on November 30 for menu, bus delivery and curbside pick-up options. Masks and social distancing will be required at curbside and bus pick-ups.

December 21 - Learning Model Consultation with MDH:

  • Distance learning for grades E-12 will continue through at least Winter Break. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide an update on our learning model to staff and families on Monday, Dec. 21 based on a consultation with our Regional Support Team.

Fall/Winter Sports Update

On Wednesday night, November 18, Governor Tim Walz announced a four-week pause on all organized adult and youth sports and activities which include games, performances, competitions, practices, and other in-person gatherings of teams or groups participating in extracurricular activities. All White Hawks high school and youth sports will cease in-person activity beginning this Friday, November 20, at 11:59 p.m.

Gyms, fitness centers, and exercise studios will also be closed during this pause. The Westonka Activity Center will be closed effective November 21. Additionally, schools will not be allowed to rent out their gyms, weight rooms, or other facilities during this time.

This four-week pause, along with a collective effort to follow safety guidelines at home, in the community and around the celebration of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, will hopefully help bring COVID-19 numbers under control so that we can safely resume these activities that are so important to our families and get our students back in the classroom.

COVID-19 Reporting Procedures in Distance Learning

Even during distance learning, Westonka staff and families should continue to follow the district’s COVID-19 reporting process. Please contact District Nurse Kelly Mattson or your school’s health office if any of the following apply:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19
  • You are identified as being a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19

When you contact Westonka’s health services team with a COVID-related concern, they will support your family by going over the quarantine/isolation timeline, reviewing testing protocol and/or assisting in contact tracing. Westonka Schools is committed to helping control the spread of COVID-19 in our community, which is the best way to get our students back in school in 2021.

District/MWHS Nurse Kelly Mattson
mattsonk@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8104

Grandview Health Specialist Raiya Larson
larsonr@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8304

Shirley Hills Health Specialist Kathy Rothenberger
rothenbergerk@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8404

Hilltop Health Specialist Dana Kraay
kraayd@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8504

Positive Case Notifications: We will be discontinuing school-level COVID-19 notifications during the distance learning period, but our health services staff will continue to individually contact anyone who has been identified as a COVID-19 close contact and provide them with quarantine instructions.

The Westonka Schools COVID-19 Dashboard will continue to be updated weekly on Wednesdays. Keep in mind, the dashboard only tracks confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in school buildings while infectious and may not be an accurate representation of cases impacting our school community during distance learning.

The Coming Weeks: Dial Back

Our collective efforts will determine how quickly we can return our students to our campuses and to their activities. We need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in order for in-person learning to successfully resume. Please make sure to take note of these protocols:

  • In accordance with Executive Order 20-99, starting Saturday, November 21, discontinue indoor and outdoor social gatherings for the next four weeks
  • Wear a mask any time you are in public and maintain at least six feet of physical distance
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay home when you are feeling ill
  • Get a COVID-19 test if you are displaying the associated symptoms. Everyone can now get free at-home saliva testing kits delivered to your home. More information is available at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/index.html

Mental Health Supports

Finally, we also have to prioritize strategies to support our mental health in this challenging time. Ensuring that we are active outside during the winter, getting plenty of sleep, and staying connected with others through phone calls, texts and video conferencing will help us all. 

Westonka's Virtual Calming Room was designed to assist students in locating different strategies and tools for managing their emotions. Additional resources can be found in the Family and Student Support section of our website. If you are experiencing severe mental health issues, please immediately contact your physician.

Thank you for your continued understanding, cooperation and grace. 

Sincerely,

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