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SoWashCo to Continue in Hybrid Learning Model

South Washington County Schools to Continue in Hybrid Learning Model
Posted on 09/12/2020
The South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) Incident Command Team met for the second time on Friday, Sept. 11 to review the latest data for keeping schools open to students. The team determined that all schools will continue in the hybrid learning model.

The incident command team is a requirement for all Minnesota school districts to monitor and review COVID-19 infection rates and challenges. The team includes health officials from Washington County, district administrators, teachers union leaders, principals, student and family representatives.

One of the first considerations is a review of the state’s previously announced formula that uses COVID-19 infection rates over 14 days to help determine a school district’s learning model. Based on Washington County’s latest COVID-19 rates, the formula recommends that SoWashCo remain in a hybrid model for all schools. But infection rates are only one factor that dictate whether schools remain open.

The SoWashCo Incident Command Team also reviewed districtwide staff and student absence rates, staff and student illness rates, staffing availability and the success of the current learning model. The data for the first four days of school is preliminary, however, the team indicated that staffing shortages may be one of the biggest factors in determining whether a school, or the whole district, must shift to distance learning.

SoWashCo is also monitoring trends in absences or illness for each school. Families and staff should be prepared for the potential of closures due to staffing shortages or illness at their school. If a single school is closed, students and staff will shift to distance learning for the required time. In each case, families and staff will be provided with as much notice as possible while balancing health and safety requirements.

District administrators will review data weekly with the incident command team set to meet again on Sept. 25.