Osseo Area Schools to Remain with Hybrid Learning Model
The Osseo School District will remain with the hybrid learning model for kindergarten through 12th-grade students. The Osseo School Board approved the decision by a 6-0 vote at a special 7:30 a.m. Monday meeting.
All students will remain with the hybrid model until further notice. Elementary students had previously been scheduled to return to buildings for daily in-person instruction starting Oct. 19.
“We do not take this decision lightly,” said Osseo school Superintendent Cory McIntyre. “I know it’s affecting lives of all our families and staff and students. For some it means added stress, for others it will bring relief. I have heard from many parents who strongly oppose this decision. And I’ve heard from many parents who strongly support it. Please know that I understand there’s no easy answer here.”
The decision comes as the 14-day Hennepin County case rate per 10,000 people, which school districts use for guidance, has increased over the past several weeks. The latest Minnesota Department of Health update on Oct. 8 showed 21.42 cases per 10,000 people from Sept. 13 to Sept. 26. That’s the highest rate since late July (7/12 through 7/25).
The state set learning model parameters based on 14-day case rates. School districts cannot choose a less restrictive model, but can opt for a more cautious approach.
Increasing Case Prevalence Among Local Communities
The Osseo School District also obtained data for cities within its boundaries. The data show Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Maple Grove with higher case rates than the Hennepin County average from Sept. 15 through Sept. 28.
“Case rates continue to increase across the county and in the cities in our district,” said McIntyre at Monday’s meeting. “There are continuing concerns about community spread.”
McIntyre added that record cases over the past several days will only increase the rate used to decide on school learning model decisions.
Board Members Hear from Parents
Osseo School Board members and the superintendent stressed that school districts can’t go against the governor’s executive order and the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan model when making their decision.
“A lot of the decision-making process here is really directed by the state,” said Osseo School Board member Heather Douglass. “It’s not a choice necessarily.”
McIntyre said the state will intervene if a district chooses a learning model that is less restrictive than parameters allow.
Osseo Area Schools started with distance learning for the first two weeks of the school year before shifting to the hybrid model on Sept. 28. Board members say they have heard from parents who are both for and against the decision to remain with hybrid.
“I am just hopeful that we can really come together as a board because we’ve heard so many sides to people’s experiences and perspectives,” said Osseo School Board member Kelsey Dawson Walton
“We all hope and pray that the COVID case rate numbers fall so that we can take our children back into elementary full time,” said Board Chair Mike Ostaffe.