October 6th Learning Model Change

Dear Families,

Last week's case rate number for Pine County reflects 41.54 COVID-19 cases per 10,000. Many of these cases are due to an outbreak at FCI Sandstone. If we exclude the FCI case numbers the county number is closer to 12.03 cases per 10,000. We cannot ignore the FCI cases completely but as of today, the FCI cases are not closely connected to community spread. Pine County Public Health provides a deep analysis of the current cases to our school district on a weekly basis. The reality is, our county continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, and because of this we need to make additional learning model changes. East Central Elementary will move to Hybrid Learning beginning Monday, October 19, 2020. Today, elementary teachers will be sending home notices with students about which days of the week children will attend school in a hybrid schedule. There will be no school for students in preschool through grade 6 on Wednesday, October 14 to allow elementary staff time to plan. Please remember our school calendar calls for fall break on October 15 & 16. There will be no school for all students on these days. East Central High School and East Central Elementary will remain in Hybrid Learning through Friday, October 30th, unless a change is warranted sooner. It is important to note, we currently do not have any COVID-19 cases within our school district. This change is meant as a proactive step to keep our students, staff, and community healthy.

Important items for you to know...

Childcare for Children of Critical Care Workers: Minnesota's Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21 requires that school districts operate a childcare program for children of critical workers. This is offered at no cost. Childcare for children of critical workers is intended for extreme circumstances in which no parent or guardian is at home due to employment as a critical worker. In two-parent households when one parent is not a critical worker, a school is not required to provide free childcare care to the family. However, East Central is choosing to provide childcare to families with one parent considered to be in a critical care field as long as space allows. We are asking that if you have the means to provide childcare elsewhere that you please do so, space will be limited due to our distancing and capacity requirements at school.

Critical Care Workers Defined: (For more a more detailed list see pages 23-26 of the Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21)

  • Healthcare and public health
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
  • Food and agriculture
  • Judicial Branch (essential services)
  • National Guard (activated under a Gov. Executive Order)
  • Educators and school staff providing in-person instruction or caring for children of critical workers
  • Child care and school-age care providers

Childcare Hours - 8:00-3:00 pm (childcare students can ride regular school bus transportation to and from school during hybrid learning)
To sign up for childcare please contact District Office Administrative Assistant, Kristi Zemke at kzemke@eastcentral.k12.mn.us or by phone at (320)245-6000.

Meals for Distance Learning Days: More information will be sent out later this week.

Reminders:

  • Masks - Please continue to review with your child(ren) the importance of mask-wearing. Unless your child has a medical reason (supported with documentation), masks are required at school. Additionally, masks must be worn properly covering both the mouth and nose.
  • Social Distancing - We are doing our best to distance kids while at school. With that said, I ask that your family tries their best to distance themselves from others while not at school. We want to keep our kids in school as much as possible so I'm asking for your help.
  • Visitors - We are limiting visitors to our school building as much as possible. If you don't need to be at school please avoid it.

Finally, I've had several questions about fall sports. Football and Volleyball have now begun their fall seasons. This has been a very challenging topic for our school district and for every school district in the state given the increase of COVID-19 cases taking place. Yes, we are going to carry out these seasons but with a detailed safety plan in place. Activities Director Lindstrom will continue to update athletes and families as these plans evolve.

Thank you for your understanding, flexibility, and partnership in these challenging times.

Sincerely,

ANDREW M. ALMOS
Superintendent, East Central Public Schools
phone 320-245-6001 | twitter @almosandrew
aalmos@eastcentral.k12.mn.us | www.eastcentral.k12.mn.us

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