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April 8 Superintendent's Update
Borg Report April 8, 2021
It has been wonderful to welcome grades E-12 back to in-person learning. Classrooms are buzzing, spring sports and activities are off and running, and planning is underway for those special end-of-year events.
Westonka’s ongoing hope is to remain in the in-person learning model for the remainder of the school year, and we need your continued help to make this happen. Our students’ and families’ actions have allowed us to continue to operate in person, and we must all continue to take precautions and remain diligent so that we do not lose these opportunities for our kids. Here are important reminders from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH):
- Stay home if anyone in your household is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. [Daily Symptom Screening and MDH Decision Tree]
- Remain vigilant with mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and symptom screening, and stay home when you are able. [Prevention Practices]
- Get tested if you’re feeling sick or if you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, it’s strongly recommended that all school-age youth returning to school, sports or extracurricular activities, and their families, get tested for COVID-19 at least every two weeks through the end of the school year. [COVID-19 Testing Options]
- Get vaccinated when you are eligible. As of March 30, every Minnesotan 16 years of age and older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. All Minnesotans ages 16 and up can sign up for the Vaccine Connector to get updates on vaccination opportunities in your area and be entered into the random selection process for the state’s Community Vaccination Program sites. Hennepin County residents are also encouraged to complete the county's vaccination registration questionnaire. [Minnesota Vaccine Connector and Hennepin County Vaccination Registration]
As has been the case all year, families and staff should be prepared for the possibility that plans will change. A change in learning model may be required if we see significant increases in the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and/or community. As required by the updated Safe Learning Plan, if the number of students and school staff who are absent or who are sent home with influenza- or COVID-19-like illness reaches approximately 5% of the total number of students and staff in a school within a single week, Westonka’s District COVID-19 Support Team will reach out to our Regional Support Team for guidance. The district will also continue to monitor local case data for trends that may prompt a learning model change.
We will continue to update the district COVID-19 Dashboard weekly on Wednesdays and alert families and staff of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 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 MDH and provided quarantine instructions.
Mound Water Update - As previously communicated, Westonka Schools received notice on March 18, 2021, from the City of Mound that recent routine testing of the city’s drinking water supply indicated elevated levels of manganese greater than the MDH recommended health advisory guideline levels. The district worked with Musser Environmental to independently test manganese levels in water at each of our school buildings. I am pleased to report that all of our school samples came in well below the MDH health advisory guideline and Westonka Schools’ drinking fountains/bottle refill stations are safe to use.
Supporting Students During and After the Chauvin Trial - As state and national media continue to cover the murder and manslaughter trial of Derek Chauvin, one of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, it is important to acknowledge that this news impacts each of us differently. As we cannot fully appreciate what each person is going through at this time, we need to show the care and respect that all of our students, families and staff deserve.
Westonka Public Schools is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our school community. Our students should feel welcomed, safe, and know that they can always find help at school. If you or your student needs support, please reach out to your school principal or counselor.
You may also find these resources helpful when navigating conversations at home:
- Mayo Clinic: Helping Children Cope: Talking Tips for Talking About Tragedy
- National Association of School Psychologists: Supporting Children’s Mental Health: Tips for Parents and Educators
- National Public Radio: What to Say to Kids When the News is Scary
- Minnesota Department of Education: Resources to Help Educators, Adults Respond to Racism, Violence and Trauma
As always, please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.