Osseo Area Schools, Other Districts Meet to Determine Fall Plans
After much anticipation, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced his plans Thursday for opening in the fall. He’s leaving the decision up to individual school districts with guidance based on COVID-19 case rates in Hennepin County averaged over a 14-day period. Many districts, like Osseo Area Schools, are currently meeting to determine a plan of action.
The Minnesota Department of Health is working with school districts to determine whether students go back in person, virtually, or in a hybrid model. No matter the decision, the classroom will look different this fall as state officials and school staff come up with a plan to keep the novel coronavirus out of school.
“It’s going to be tricky, and people are going to be anxious, worried about their health,” said Kelly Wilson, president of Education Minnesota-Osseo, the teachers union in the Osseo School District.
Osseo Area Schools to Base Decision On Governor’s Safe Learning Plan
The Governor’s Safe Learning Plan is a complicated puzzle with many different pieces. It relies on case numbers based on the county schools are in. Schools in Hennepin County would currently be recommended for the hybrid model based on the current 14-day case rate of 20.93 cases per 10,000 people. Those numbers are subject to change.
“This is a localized data-driven approach to making sure school districts where it is physically possible, to teach our students, we will do that,” said Walz.
But teachers say there’s a lot to figure out.
“There are so many unanswered questions,” said Kristi Eckdahl, a fourth-grade teacher at Oak Grove Elementary in Maple Grove. She’s taught at the school for 13 years and wants to go back to the classroom. “Just making sure we are safe and making sure we’re practicing safe protocols, that we have safety measures in line.”
Eckdahl says distance learning is the safest for staff and students, but she thinks it will be challenging. “It’s a lot of work. A typical teacher is not prepared for distancing learning in the sense that most of our curriculum is for in-person teaching,” she explained.
But the final say will lie with parents. Families can choose distance learning for their students, even if the district is going with another model.
“Parents, kids, and staff members are all kind of waiting to find out what’s going to happen,” said Wilson with Education Minnesota-Osseo.
Osseo School District officials say they hope to notify parents staff and teachers Thursday night or early Friday morning.