July 30th Update

July 30th Update from Superintendent Almos
Posted on 07/30/2020

Dear Families,

Today, Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Education issued direction for schools called the Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21. A system to track COVID-19 cases by county is the metric being used to determine how schools should reopen this fall. The metrics and learning scenarios below are based on a 14 day average by Minnesota county. This data will guide how we operate school and will be subject to change as COVID-19 numbers evolve.

COVID-19 Case Rate Per 10,000 People Learning Scenario
0 to less than 10 District-Wide In Person
10 to less than 20 Elementary = In Person
High School = Hybrid
20 to less than 30 District-Wide Hybrid
30 to less than 50 Elementary = Hybrid
High School = Distance Learning
50 and over District-Wide Distance Learning

Pine County's Historical Case Rate Data:

County 5/31-6/13 6/7-6/20 6/14-6/27 6/21-7/4 6/28-7/11 7/5-7/18
Pine 1.03 0.69 2.06 4.81 3.78 2.75

The most recent 14-day average shows Pine County meeting the guidance to open school In Person with case rate numbers at 2.75 per 10,000 people. This data is meant to be a starting point for our school district to make the reopening decision. Should the case rate data continue to be low, East Central Public Schools will open with full-time in-person learning for students. This can change as we get closer to school opening and we'll continue to watch this data and other local factors closely.

The governor's most recent executive order requires masks of students and staff while indoors at school. Students under five years of age and any person with a medical condition (with doctor’s note) will not be required to wear a mask. Please discuss this masking requirement with your children and have them practice wearing a mask to get them ready for school. Additionally, with an In-person learning scenario, our school district will work to social distance people as much as possible. We will space student desks, limit group work, avoid contact between students as much as possible, and limit non-essential visitors to our school district. As we move forward from here we know this will create varying degrees of feelings with people. Some families will agree and others will disagree. It is important for our community to know that East Central Public Schools exist to serve all children. We will work with our families to educate kids and find a scenario to serve them all. Our first priority is the safety of our students and staff. Our second priority is to create a quality learning environment for students.

Finally, the data in Pine County is showing us the number of cases in our region remains low. We want our kids back in school so I ask you and your family to please be mindful of how, where, and when you interact with others. Most of us don't like the idea of having to wear a mask but perhaps if we do, we can get kids back to school, parents back to work, and our communities up and running again.

For the most up-to-date information about our reopening plans please visit the school district website.

Take care,

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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