November 18 - Milaca Elementary Transitioning to Distance Learning on November 30
Just one short week ago, I wrote to you regarding a learning model shift for the high school to begin distant learning. Now, due to an alarming increase in local COVID cases and ever-increasing staffing shortages, I regret to once again write to you with a learning model shift. On Monday, November 30, elementary students (grades K-6) will also begin distance learning. Mr. Voshell will be sending additional information to elementary families.
School Community Cases
Mille Lacs County continues to experience rising case numbers, which is leaving us with significant staffing shortages. As community cases increase, so does community exposure, resulting in more staff positive cases and quarantines for themself and/or to care for family members. Although we have experienced less of an increase of cases within the school than last week (COVID-19 Dashboard), community exposure and cases have dramatically affected our ability to find substitutes. We continue to have a limited number of school-related quarantines and have not identified any transmission from within. However, due to the increase in county cases and the staffing shortage, we will move into Phase 5 of the MDE/MDH Learning Model (distance learning for high school and elementary students).
Now that we will be going to distance learning for grades K-12, we are evaluating meal distribution. Watch for more details in the future. At this time, meals will continue to be available for pick up at the high school cafeteria doors from 6:45 - 8:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Each meal includes lunch for that day and breakfast for the next day. Meals are free for children up to the age of 18.
Activities and Community Education
It is our understanding that Governor Walz will be making an announcement regarding sports and activities tonight at a 6:00 p.m. press conference. We do not have advanced notice of the details. Once he has made his announcement, we will provide you with how we will proceed while aligning with his protocol.
Returning to School
While we understand the severity of the current pandemic, we are optimistically developing a return to school plan. We will continue to work with the Minnesota Department of Health and County Health so we will be ready to implement this plan quickly; however, at this time we do not have a return date for students and it is too early to make a future prediction. The return of students is strongly based on the number of community cases. As a community, we all need to do our part to decrease the case numbers so our children can return to school. We can expedite the return by:
Health Office Support
As we enter distance learning, our health office will continue to support families by answering questions and providing health and safety guidance. It is important for families to continue reporting COVID-19 cases within their households and report absences if their students are not able to attend distance learning classes due to being ill. This data will play a role in determining when our students may return to school.
School Readiness and Early Childhood Family Education Classes
School Readiness and Early Childhood Family Education Classes will continue as scheduled.
I appreciate everyone's patience. We will get through this together. Thank you for your support for Milaca Public Schools.
Dr. David Wedin
Superintendent Milaca Public Schools