Stay alert and ready for changes
Posted by Forest Lake Area Schools on 10/14/2020 3:00:00 PM
As we approach this week’s fall break, I hope you will find fun and safe ways to enjoy spending the time together with your family.
This school year continues to require flexibility and adaptability from our staff and families. We are monitoring COVID-19 case data every day, and continuing discussions with the Minnesota Department of Health about whether current circumstances continue to support our amount of in-person learning. You might be aware that Anoka, Chisago, and Washington counties are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
At this point, we are NOT announcing any change from our current model of elementary students attending school fully in person, and secondary students attending school on a hybrid schedule. However, parents should stay tuned and be prepared for a change to either elementary hybrid, or potentially full distance learning if any of the following areas begin to cause concern:
- Community Case Data
Numbers of cases within our community seem to be on an increasing trend, and larger numbers of individuals infected in our community create more potential for the disease to be brought into our school buildings. The school district will continue watching case data trends and will work with the Department of Health to determine if and when case trends prompt us to make a change. If we made this type of change, we would give advance notice for families and planning time for staff, and the change would be long-term.
- Staffing concerns
Shortages of substitute staff members, along with an increased need for quarantining and/or staying home with symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 are combining to create staffing shortages with teachers, bus drivers, paraprofessionals and other staffing areas. It is possible that staff shortages could push the district into distance learning if we are unable to safely staff our operations.
Currently, we have not had any indication that COVID-19 is spreading within our schools. However, if signs of an outbreak do occur within a school or grade level, we will take necessary precautions to prevent any further spread, and that would likely require a temporary switch to distance learning for those grade levels or schools involved.
We know that, when it is safe, in-person learning is the preferred way for students to learn, collaborate and build relationships. We are committed to keeping students in school as long as it is safe to do so. At the same time, we want families to be alert and prepared in case we need to make a change at some point in the near future.
Steve Massey, Superintendent