Detroit Lakes School District to Shift to Distance Learning by Dec. 18
Zeke Fuhrman | Nov 18, 2020 AT 7:15 pm
DETROIT LAKES (KDLM) - The Detroit Lakes School District will shift grades PK-12 to Distance Learning by December 18.
"These unprecedented times have made us reconsider how we go about educating our students," Superintendent, Mark Jenson said in a letter to families, Wednesday.
Grades 6-8 will pivot to Distance Learning at Thanksgiving break. The High School will remain in Distance Learning and Elementary schools and Pre-school will remain in the hybrid model until December 18, after which they will move to all distance learning.
Jenson indicated that the timeline could be moved up as COVID cases continue to rise in the area. He is encouraging parents to begin planning for distance learning.
By Monday, December 21, the District will shift to distance learning for all students in PK-12 and remain in that model until January 19. Several districts in the area, including Perham have preemptively changed learning models around the holidays fearing many families may potentially be traveling or gathering during that time and holding off on bringing students back into school buildings for two weeks after the holiday break will allow for greater social distancing and quarantines may have less impact.
Here is Superintendent Jenson's letter:
Dear Parents, Students, and District Staff Members,
These unprecedented times have made us reconsider how we go about educating our students, and the impressive levels of collaboration with our parents, guardians, students, partners, and staff show that we are, indeed, all in this together.
To date, Detroit Lakes Public Schools has relied upon and used guidance from state and local health department officials, local medical experts and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to advise our practices. We will continue to reference this data, as well as our own data.
The data we utilize is showing us that we are rapidly moving in the wrong direction in terms of infection rates, so much so that we will be pivoting students in grades 6-8 to Distance Learning at Thanksgiving break. The High School will remain in Distance Learning and our Elementary schools and Pre-school will remain in the hybrid model until December 18, after which we will move to all distance learning.
Learning Model Pivot Dates (Subject to possible change based on county infection rates)
MDE outlines parameters in the Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year that Districts use as guidance. In the original document from July, the county number, if it were to go over 50 would require districts to move to all distance learning. There has been updated information to this and districts are to use a “scalpel” approach in determining a switch to their learning models. If you are able to staff your buildings safely and there is not an active outbreak occurring you may continue to hold instruction despite your county numbers. At this point, we are still able to staff our elementary schools and recognize the hardship for families if we move to distance learning in elementary. As of this writing, we will hold our model as hybrid. I must also caution that this could change if cases continue to rise in the area and cases begin impacting our elementary schools. I encourage parents to begin planning for distance learning at the elementary level in case our numbers continue their upward trend. Starting on Monday, December 21, the District will shift to distance learning for all students in PK-12 and remain in that model until January 19. Due to the holiday season and many families potentially traveling or gathering during that time, we will hold off on bringing students back into the buildings for two weeks after the holiday break. This will allow for greater social distancing and any quarantines may have less impact.
I know this information is disappointing to some. Not only is the MDE Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year ’s learning model parameters mandating this decision, but the concerns for the health and safety of our students, staff, and general community are at the center of all of our decisions during this pandemic. If, during distance learning, your child receives a positive test result for COVID, please notify your school’s office so we can continue to monitor our case counts across the District. We will use this information to make an informed decision on when our students can return safely back to the classrooms.
Thank you for your understanding in
these incredibly difficult times.
Superintendent, Detroit Lakes Public Schools