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April 20 Superintendent's Update
Borg Report April 20, 2021
I want to take this opportunity to provide an update on our district’s direction as we enter the final weeks of the 2020-21 school year.
Learning Model Update
Our goal is that Westonka Public Schools will be able to continue in our current in-person learning model for the remainder of the school year. In order to protect these opportunities for our kids, we need students, staff and families to remain vigilant with all COVID-19 mitigation strategies, as outlined by the Minnesota Department of Health: stay home when sick, wash your hands, socially distance, wear a mask, get tested regularly, and get vaccinated when eligible.
The district continues to monitor local COVID-19 case data for trends that may prompt a change in our learning model. Cases of COVID-19 in Hennepin County and in the Westonka area have been on the rise over the last several weeks. Data released April 20 show a rate of 47.9 of positive cases per 10,000 people in Hennepin County. W/S Suburban Hennepin County, which includes the Westonka District, reported a rate of 64.8.
We have also seen an increase in positive cases in our school buildings following spring break. Last week, Westonka reported seven positive cases of COVID-19 among students/staff who were in the school building while infectious.
As a reminder, 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 be required to consult our Regional Support Team regarding a possible learning model change. Our schools currently range between 1% and 2% of students/staff absent due to illness.
On Fridays, our primary schools will continue to run their current schedule of half days of in-person learning through the end of the school year. At the middle and high schools, Fridays will continue to be distance learning days, with the exception of the last day of school, Friday, June 4, which will be a materials drop-off day. Watch for information from your student’s school regarding other end-of-year events and spring celebrations.
Supporting Our Students and Families
On Tuesday afternoon, the jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May. We know the news and events surrounding this case and the verdict will give rise to many strong emotions in students, staff and families.
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.
Processing events such as these can be difficult and confusing for children and adults alike. If students need support in making sense of their emotions, school counselors and student support teams will be available to provide safe spaces for further conversation.
We also understand that we don’t have all of the answers, and we cannot assume to know what each person needs at this time. We are committed to listening to each child, supporting them in their learning and social-emotional development, and providing a safe, welcoming and respectful environment at school.
If you or your student needs additional support, please reach out to your school principal, counselor or other trusted Westonka staff member. 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 directly with any questions or concerns. I am continually thankful for your support and partnership.