Eagle Update: Distance learning plans
New Ulm Public Schools has over 2,500 staff and students spread out in four buildings every day, 7- 8 hours per day. Based on the numbers involved, we have been extremely fortunate with the lack of COVID transmission in our buildings. The issue we have experienced for the past month is one of proper staffing, as have many businesses in our community. We made the decision to move to a distance learning model for the weeks of Nov. 30 until Dec. 11 in order to buy time for staff to be available for our programs.
While we are distance learning, we will continue to work with Brown County Public Health as we monitor community transmission, student and staff cases, and our ability to return with some version of in-person learning for our students. During the distance learning time, we will offer daycare for those families most in need on the critical care list and school meal packages that can be picked up at any school site. The ability to offer daycare for district enrolled students is predicated on proper staffing to maintain social distancing and meet the pod size of no more than 15 in a room.
We will continue to offer our Pre-K programming at WLC with in-person instruction. The Pre-K staff are working hard to set up their classrooms to meet the proper distancing and group sizes. We have the staff to maintain this program in-person and we have not observed any COVID transmission in a building.
We increased our capacity to teach in a distance learning mode, along with increasing the expectations for students since last spring when we quickly shifted everyone to distance learning. Adjustments and updates to our distance learning plans at each building are a result of what we learned from the spring distance learning period and through parent surveys. Each building has spent time updating its learning plans to be flexible, higher quality and more collaborative with students and parents.
The ability for our students to return to in-person instruction is really up to the community as a whole and limiting COVID exposure to the extent possible. The number of COVID cases does have an effect on what we can do safely in our buildings. The household transmission, closure of daycares, social events and family gatherings have hit everyone hard.
Please enjoy Thanksgiving with family in a safe and positive manner.