On Monday, October 5, ISD 318 announced the decision to add 3-5 elementary students to the hybrid learning model 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 analysis of case clusters in our area mean that we are able to continue to offer in-person learning at Bigfork Elementary and for our K-2 students at Cohasset, East Rapids, and West Rapids Elementary Schools.
Schedule: Hybrid Learning at the elementary level will begin on Tuesday, October 20. As provided for in the Governor’s Plan, there will be no school for elementary students on Wednesday, October 14 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 Wednesday.
What will it look like:
Cohasset, East Rapids, and West Rapids Elementaries:
- Grades K-2: all students in-person every day
- Grades 3-5: students will be placed in the same hybrid groups as older siblings and will follow the same schedule with Group A meeting in person on Mondays and Thursdays and Group B attending 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.
- Additional grades will be added to the "every student, every day" schedule after we determine our ability to do so.
- Because we are able to meet spacing and capacity requirements, all students in grades K-6 will attend every day.
At the middle and high school level, our students will continue in Group A and Group B. 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.
Grades 3-5 may be added back to an in-person everyday schedule if we determine we are able to handle more students in the buildings and still meet capacity and space requirements.
Parents will be notified of which group their elementary student is in via phone and email on Tuesday, October 6.
If case data continues to trend in a negative direction we may need to move to distance learning at the middle and high school level..
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 you do not have internet access, please contact your school office right away.
What did we consider when deciding to move to hybrid for elementary 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 click here 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 expect to be in the hybrid model at the elementary level until at least the end of the quarter on November 6.
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.