This morning, the school board approved my revised recommendation to remain in the hybrid model across all grades until further notice, due to increasing virus case rates in Hennepin County and in our local communities. My recommendation also reflects my regular consultation with staff and county officials.
This decision means that elementary students will not be returning on Oct. 19 for full-time in-person attendance as previously planned. All students, except those enrolled in the Distance Learning Academy, will now remain in the hybrid model until further notice.
I have heard from families who strongly oppose this decision and from families who strongly support it. Please know that I understand there is no easy answer here. Please note the following:
- Decisions about learning models are based on parameters determined by the state, and school districts are required to ensure that the learning model they choose falls within those parameters. The state has made it clear that it will intervene if the district chooses a learning model that is less restrictive than the parameters allow.
- I know some are interpreting state guidance as offering flexibility to local districts, implying that districts can make exceptions to those parameters. This is not an accurate interpretation.
- In addition to complying with guidance from the MN Dept of Health and the MN Dept of Education, school districts must comply with Gov. Walz’s executive orders, which carry the force of law.
- Since early August, we have communicated that you can expect movement among learning models throughout the year, based on evolving virus activity. We also provided the Distance Learning Academy as an option for families who wanted the certainty of no movement and the assurance of distance learning only for the entire year.
Please know that we do not take this decision lightly. I know it is affecting your daily lives. For some, it will mean added stress; for others, it will bring relief. Unfortunately, there is no way to please everyone with any learning model decision. Therefore, we will continue to base our decisions on state direction and guidance, in compliance with the parameters provided to us.