RED WING -- Students in grades K-2 could be back in school starting Jan. 12. The final decision on the plan will come Jan. 4 under the new School Board. The caveat will be whether the district’s plan complies with Gov. Tim Walz’s orders.
Even if students return to school, families should be prepared for distance learning to continue next month -- or resume any time -- at short notice, the board stressed.
“There are a lot of components and moving parts here,” Board members Heidi Jones said.
The plan as it stands now is:
Jan. 11 — no school, in-person or distance
Jan. 12 — Grades K-2 return to in-person learning
Jan. 18 — no school, in-person or distance
Jan. 19 — Grades 3-4 return to in-person learning and grades 5-12: return to hybrid learning
Jan. 22 — Colvill early childhood students, who are in-person learning Mondays-Thursdays will again have in-person on Fridays.
Jan. 25 — Students who signed up for online-only learning may move to in-person or hybrid learning if they contacted the district by Dec. 15.
Individual dates — The district will contact students who receive intensive service needs about when and how they may return to the classroom.
“We want our kids with intensive service needs in as soon as possible, then grades K-2 and then grades 3-12,” Superintendent Karsten Anderson said prior to the vote.
The district shifted to distance learning Nov. 16 when the local COVID-19 cases skyrocketed. The rolling 14-day case ratios have gone from 102 (end date Nov. 7), peaking at 156 (Nov. 21) and 135 (Dec. 5, reported Dec. 17).
On Dec. 16, the governor announced that districts may begin bringing the youngest students back provided stringent safety measures are in place.
“I’m very confident in a plan for all grades,” Anderson said.
Other factors, however, include the availability of staff, teachers and substitutes; COVID-19 rates in the county and city; the number of infection transmissions in a particular schools or grade; plus compliance with executive orders as well as state and federal laws.
Anderson represented two return-to-school options. Vice Chair Arlen Diercks moved and Board member Janie Farrar seconded Anderson’s recommended plan.
“We realize this is all contingent on having enough staff members,” Anderson said.