Eagle Update: Providing a safe environment
All of us have been affected by COVID-19. What we are doing today in school wasn’t on our minds when we started school last year. The new safety protocols, preparedness plans, monitoring of health conditions and managing people in spaces have taken the front seat to what we are doing as we start this school year. The conditions of which we are working have drastically changed, but the district mission of providing a safe environment with rich and challenging academic, social and emotional programming remains.
I would like to personally thank our staff for coming together over the past several months to design plans on how we start school and what we will do should we need to change to a different learning plan. It is not easy work to make three different plans on how you work with the students to deliver and assess their education (in-person, hybrid or distance learning). Our district leadership team pulled together all summer to work through the vast volumes of MN Department of Education and MN Department of Health planning documents in order to design a plan of what we could do in our schools (transportation, health, facilities, food service, technology, building principals, business office and district office staff). The result of this work is our base learning plan.
The first two weeks of school have been great! The energy level and excitement of students back in our buildings is wonderful to feel and see. We have missed the students over the past five months. We plan to spend the first weeks learning the safety protocols, establishing relationships and developing routines in each building. We can then transition our focus to the work of designing learning plans for our students to meet their needs.
We do know that we will have staff and students affected by COVID-19 throughout the school year. We will follow the MN Department of Health guidelines for notifications, evaluation of symptoms at school and how we manage people and spaces in our buildings. Our intent is to minimize the risks associated with COVID-19, knowing we can’t eliminate all risks. We will do the best we can to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for all of our students as we work through COVID-19. Having students back is step one, keeping them in school is the goal for all of us.