Return to Headlines

Westonka Public Schools Re-Entry Plan

Borg Report January 13, 2021

I am pleased to report that Westonka Public Schools, with the support of our Regional Support Team, will be moving forward with the school re-entry plan that was communicated prior to Winter Break. COVID-19 case numbers in our community have decreased significantly since my last update. This week, W/S Suburban Hennepin County reported a 14-day case rate of 33.5, which is down from a peak of 156.9 in November.

Please see the re-entry dates for each school below.

Westonka Public Schools Re-Entry Plan 2021

Westonka Early Learning/Preschool

  • January 6 - Westonka early learning/preschool students returned to school in the in-person learning model on January 6.

Hilltop & Shirley Hills Primary Schools (Grades K-4) 

  • January 4-January 15 - Hilltop and Shirley Hills students grades K-4 will continue in the distance learning model through the end of second quarter.
  • January 18 & 19 - No school for grades K-12. Teacher professional days.
  • January 20 - Grades K-4 will return to school in the in-person learning model on Wednesday, January 20. School will be held Monday through Friday with a shortened Friday schedule (12:30 p.m. early release) to accommodate increased teacher preparation time, as required by Executive Order 20-94.
    • Note: The Regional Support Team approved Westonka’s plan to have grades K-4 re-enter school together on January 20, as opposed to introducing grades in a rolling start at the primary level.

Grandview Middle School (Grades 5-7)

  • January 4-January 15 - Grandview Middle School students grades 5-7 will continue in the distance learning model through the end of second quarter.
  • January 18 & 19 - No school for grades K-12. Teacher professional days.
  • January 20 - Grades 5-7 will return to school in the hybrid learning model on Wednesday, January 20.

Mound Westonka High School (Grades 8-12)

  • January 4-January 15 - Mound Westonka High School students grades 8-12 will continue in the distance learning model through the end of second quarter.
  • January 18 & 19 - No school for grades K-12. Teacher professional days.
  • January 20 - Grades 8-10 will return to school in the hybrid learning model on Wednesday, January 20. Grades 11 and 12 will continue in the distance learning model through the end of January. 
    • Note: The Safe Learning Plan requires that most schools implement a rolling start, with no more than three grade bands being introduced into the building in a two-week time period.
  • February 1 - Grades 11 and 12 will return to school in the hybrid learning model on Monday, February 1.

What Could Cause These Plans to Change?

Westonka’s re-entry plans are subject to change if we see significant increases in the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and/or community or if we are unable to appropriately staff our buildings. 

The district will continue to monitor local case data for trends that may prompt a learning model change. An individual school or the district may need to change learning models in reaction to significant numbers of students and/or staff members placed in quarantine. The decision to change models would be made by the District COVID-19 Support Team in consultation with the Regional Support Team.

We will continue to update the district COVID-19 Dashboard weekly on Wednesdays. The dashboard tracks confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in the school building while infectious. If you are determined to be a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted individually by Westonka’s Health Services Department and/or the Minnesota Department of Health and provided quarantine instructions. Westonka parents and staff will receive communication of any positive cases in their school building, even if the individual who tested positive was not in the building while infectious. 

More Details About Re-Entry

  • School Meals - The Westonka Food Services Department will transition to the In-Person/Hybrid meal plans on January 20. School meals will continue to be available to students choosing the Distance Only Option. Find details on the Westonka Foodies website, www.westonkafoodies.com.

  • Face Masks and Face Shields - The Safe Learning Plan for Minnesota Schools has been updated to reflect changes to the Minnesota Department of Health’s 2020-2021 Planning Guide for Schools. Consistent with Executive Order 20-103, face coverings must now be worn at all times during indoor physical activity (e.g., when exercising in a gym, fitness center, or during recess), regardless of the level of physical exertion. This includes students and staff. Previous guidance allowing face coverings to be removed during high exertion activities is no longer applicable. School staff working in the in-person or hybrid models are also strongly encouraged to wear face masks and face shields together whenever possible during the school day as an important additional health and safety precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school communities. 

  • Transportation - As we prepare to re-enter school buildings, we continue to encourage parents to drive their child(ren) to and from school if they have the ability to do so. Fewer riders will help limit potential exposures to COVID-19 and allow more room for those who are in need of transportation. Westonka Bus Service will be assigning and documenting seating for all bus rides, including activities routes. According to updated MDH guidance released December 29, 2020, close contacts among riders (children and staff) who were on the bus with a person who is positive for COVID-19 include those who were in the same row, two rows ahead, and the two rows behind the positive person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively. All close contacts will be contacted individually and required to quarantine.

  • Quarantines - If you are exposed to COVID-19, the safest option is to stay home and away from others for 14 days. However, in certain situations, you may end your quarantine after 10 days, or after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test result. You cannot end your quarantine before seven days for any reason. Please review the district’s COVID-19 Quarantine Process for more details about shortened quarantine requests. Important things to note:

    • If you are quarantining because someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, the full 14-day quarantine is still required. (The COVID-19 virus can develop up to 14 days after the last contact with a positive person.)

    • Update 1.12.21 - For students attending a school/program operating in the in-person learning model (currently Adventure Club, early learning and grades K-4), the full 14-day quarantine is still required. Six feet social distancing cannot be effectively maintained between students in a fully in-person learning environment.

  • CDC International Air Travel Testing Requirement - On January 12, the CDC issued an Order requiring all air passengers arriving to the United States from a foreign country to get tested no more than three (3) days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This Order will go into effect January 26, 2021. It applies to all air passengers traveling into the U.S., including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html

  • White Hawks Activities - Winter sports participants should have by now received information from the Westonka Activities Department and program head coaches about their team’s return-to-play details.

We look forward to beginning to welcome students and staff back to school next week. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

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