Detroit Lakes Students will be Required to Wear Masks in School, Parents to be Notified of Positive COVID Cases

Detroit Lakes Students will be Required to Wear Masks in School, Parents to be Notified of Positive COVID Cases Click to Enlarge

DETROIT LAKES (KDLM) - The Detroit Lakes School Board met Thursday during a special work session to discuss their reopening plan for the fall 2020-21 school year.

Detroit Lakes Public School District has worked over the last two months to create three models: in-person learning, distance learning and a hybrid learning model. With new State guidance, the School District needs to decide how they'll implement the models.

Detroit Lakes School Superintendent, Mark Jenson described the process as "unprecedented" and thanked the entire district for the work they've put in over the last several months to coordinate and plan for a school year that still has many unknowns.

A 100 page document from the State has evolved into a 50 page working document for the district, Jenson says which model the district uses largely depends on a 14 day COVID count in Becker County, "If Detroit Lakes Public School were to open school today we would have to go to our regional support team – they would look at our 14 day count and say yay or nay."

As it stands now, elementary students would be in-person while middle school and high school would utilize a hybrid model.

When in-person school does start, anyone inside a school building will be required to wear masks including students. "If they don't wear masks...disciplinary actions may happen. There is a clause, but there are very few things that qualify a student not to wear a mask," added Jenson.

Every student will be given a cloth mask as well as 3 disposable masks; face shields will be utilized as necessary provided by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Masks alone may not be enough to stop a COVID outbreak within the district – in the event of a positive case, the district will follow Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. "Every building has a building coordinator...once we are notified of a positive case we'll contact the regional support team and they'll make an assessment. Just because you have a case doesn't necessarily mean you shut the school down."

Parents will be notified by the district if there is a positive case. If there is a positive test, students will get first priority for COVID testing so results can be received quickly.

The District plans to tentatively identify and disseminate to families which models they'll be using to start the school year no later than Aug. 31. At that time parents and students will be given more information on specific day to day details including bus routes and class schedules.

The first day of school is scheduled for Sept. 14, 2020.

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