ISD 318 to Temporarily Implement Distance Learning
On November 10, ISD 318 Superintendent Matt Grose announced that the school district would need to move to a temporary distance learning model beginning on November 23 due to an increase in community COVID-19 cases.
“Community spread is now starting to affect our schools. Our staff and students have been working hard to stay in the current hybrid model,” said Superintendent Grose. “Unfortunately, the increase in case numbers means an increase in the number of quarantines for staff and students. We are quickly reaching a point where we do not have enough staff to adequately supervise children in our buildings.”
MDE has created what is called a “reset option.” During a reset period, all students move to the distance learning model for a predetermined about of time, usually two weeks. The benefit of a reset option is that is not a switch in learning models and allows us to set a specific date for return.
There will be no school for ISD 318 students on Wednesday, November 18 to allow staff to plan for the switch to distance learning. On Monday, November 23, K-2 students in Grand Rapids/Cohasset and K-6 students in Bigfork will attend school for the full day and take home all necessary learning materials. Bigfork High School students and 3-12 students in Grand Rapids and Bigfork will begin distance learning. On Tuesday, November 24, all students will be distance learning. The district’s goal is to return to hybrid on December 7.
“This is a difficult decision and we understand the move will cause hardship for families. We have tried to minimize the impact on families and to learning by incorporating the days off for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Grose.
It is possible that an individual school could be forced into distance learning prior to November 23 based on the number of staff quarantines. This could happen with little notice, so the district is encouraging families to begin planning for distance learning right away. School-age care is available from the district for Tier 1 Emergency Workers and registration is available here. Care is also available from the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA and contact numbers are also located on the district site.
School meals will also be available during the distance learning period. Additional information will be provided to families before November 23.
Because the reset period is voluntary and is being driven primarily by staffing challenges, not in-school spread, students will still be allowed to participate in school sports and extra-curricular activities.
“Our hope is that this distance learning period will last for two weeks, however, if we still have large numbers of staff and students who are quarantined or infected, we will need to consider extending the reset,” said Grose. Families and community members can help reduce the impact on schools by wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and avoiding large gatherings.