10/30/2020 2:51:00 PM Virus numbers push Chisago Lakes to move remote learning for high school, middle school
by DENISE MARTIN Chisago Lakes school district families were receiving direct notice starting Oct 28 that distance learning will become the norm for middle schoolers as of November 2 and at the high school remote learning takes over November 10.
High school students will be expected to wrap up the semester requirements in their current learning model by Friday November 6. There is no school Nov 9 already scheduled as staff development day and distance learning for Term 2 will start November 10.
The superintendent explains that due to a variety of factors the distance learning model is being activated. The district wants to “stabilize staff” numbers, which are being impacted by covid-19 positive cases. There are 532 staff members and four new cases were added in recent days. The district is seeing an impact on custodial and food service departments as well as overall availability of substitute teachers.
Supt. Dean Jennissen explained the district is coordinating learning model revisions with Chisago County public health numbers and will continue to cooperate with public health and rely on local data on the coronavirus spread. At this time the growth in positive cases remains a community spread and is not focused in any one locale or sector.
At 30 cases per 10,000 in county population the state recommends going to remote learning and it is anticipated Chisago will be around 55 cases per 10,000 and trending upward. Jennissen reported as of Thursday there were 41 high school students in quarantine.
The preK to grade 5 students in Chisago Lakes will continue to be able to use a hybrid learning model until or unless, something should change in case numbers. The distance learning method is generally contingent on community health data like the two week average case rate in the community.
Supt. Jennissen states that, “While it was challenging to start the year in a hybrid model, I do believe it was what kept us in person at school to-date. We hope to hang onto our PK -5 hybrid model and see decreases in spread outside of our schools....however, this is what we need to do for now and we will make the most of it.”
The district will monitor the virus spread, families were advised, and watch local test numbers within the district and by November 20 there would be an update for keeping distance learning as the middle school learning model or if on-school classes could be comtemplated. Due to the structure of high school calendar terms and curriculum-- the next administration communication on any possible change in that learning model won’t come before December 2.