On Tuesday, September 22, ISD 318 made the decision to move to a hybrid learning model for high school and middle school students due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Itasca County. This change provides additional space within our classrooms and common areas for physical distancing.
The Governor’s Health Matrix and the number of cases in our area mean that we are able to continue to offer in-person learning at Bigfork, Cohasset, East Rapids, and West Rapids Elementaries. However, if cases increase that could change.
Schedule: Hybrid Learning will begin on Tuesday, September 29. As provided for in the Governor’s Plan, there will be no school for in-person middle and high school students on Monday, September 28 as teachers plan and implement hybrid lesson plans. The shift to hybrid does not affect ConnectEd students so they will have school as usual on Monday.
What will it look like: At the middle and high school level, our students will be divided into Group A and Group B and will continue to have the same teachers online and in-person. These A and B groups are based on student households. This ensures that blended families will not find themselves with students in two different cohorts. Group A will attend school on Mondays and Thursdays. Group B will attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. All students will attend remotely on Wednesdays. When students are not in school on their “off” days, they will be learning from home.
Parents will be notified of which group their student is in via phone and email by Friday afternoon. Click here to access a calendar of in-person days.
If case data continues to trend in a negative direction and we move to a hybrid model at the elementary level, students will be in the same cohort as their older siblings.
All of our previous health and safety protocols including face-coverings and physical distance guidelines are still in effect. Please make sure that you are following the at-home screening process for all of your children. If there are any changes to busing, you will be notified by the Transportation Department by Monday, September 28.
If you do not have internet access, please contact your school office right away.
What did we consider when deciding to move to hybrid for middle and high school students?
- Case rates: The most recent 14-day trend data, as well as the trend over time, shows an increase in case rates per 10,000 people in Itasca County. These rates put us within Minnesota’s parameters for hybrid learning.
- Partnership in planning: Throughout the planning process, we have engaged staff and families, gathered input from our Learning Model Advisory Team, and consulted with officials at Itasca County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health who are in full support of our learning plan.
Is there childcare available? Childcare is available for Tier 1 workers through Community Education. The definition of Tier 1 workers has changed from last spring and is available by clicking here. If you qualify, please contact Community Education at 218-327-5730 to register.
When will ISD 318 consider returning to in-person learning? We will continually review our return-to-school metrics. If it is safe to do so, we will communicate a decision to return to an in-person model. We hope that together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and return in-person as soon as possible. Based on the guidelines from the state, we must wait a minimum of two to three weeks before returning to an in-person model to ensure that there is not a continuation of outbreaks. We will be working with Itasca County Public Health to assess the level of viral activity in our community and its impact on our schools to determine when it is appropriate to return to in-person learning.
We hope that by working together our community can slow the spread of COVID-19 and we can return to in-person as soon as possible.