District Remains in Hybrid Learning Model

District Remains in Hybrid Learning Model
Posted on 10/13/2020
This is the image for the news article titled District Remains in Hybrid Learning Model  Dear Warrior Family, 


 Thank you, Brainerd Public Schools community, for your support and understanding as our school district responds to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic. As superintendent, I am very proud of how our students, employees, families and community have handled the demands of our hybrid and distance learning models while continuing to safely educate, provide high quality nutrition, deliver appropriate child care and transport our children during the most unusual of circumstances. While in the business of educating our learners our priority remains, first and foremost, the safety of our students and staff. 

 While it has been an absolute joy to have students back in school, whether in-person in a hybrid model or via distance learning, our community has not been free of the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Since the school year began, more than 500 staff and students have been quarantined with symptoms. Approximately 40 of those people, a combination of students and staff, have tested positive for COVID-19. We are grateful that - to date - our students and staff who have been infected by this virus have experienced a swift and full recovery. 

 After thorough consultation with the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Department of Health, Crow Wing County Public Health, Region V and the Board of Education @ ISD 181 we have unanimously agreed that all Brainerd Public Schools will remain in the HYBRID MODEL until further notice. Our professional team used numerous quantitative data points to make this determination. The following information was considered: 

As you surely are aware, the case count in Crow Wing County continues to rise. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the number of COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people in the county is projected to be in the 30-49 range by mid October. As you can see from the chart below from the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan, if the case count continues to be in this range and develops into a consistent trend, we most likely will have to transition into distance learning for our secondary students. As required, we are using multiple data sources to determine when we enter various learning models. The superintendents in the seven-county area and I recently requested the community’s help in preventing changes to our learning model from occurring. You can read our plea for everyone to help by following the  MN Department of Health safety protocols here

 The encouraging news is that current data shows that our earlier efforts to go into a two-week distance learning “reset,” due to a positive cluster in Grades 9-12, is working to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. As you can see from the charts below, the number of staff and students in quarantine is decreasing. The number of new positive COVID-19 test results is slowing. We believe that the collaborative efforts our community has put forth to prioritize the safety of our students and staff has directly and positively affected this trend. Thank you for following the necessary guidelines.


Officials at Crow Wing County Public Health, MN Department of Education, Region V and the MN Department of Health believe that the “reset” at our high schools, combined with the diligent oversight efforts of our staff and parents, has been successful in containing the cluster of positive cases we experienced in late September. We are not aware of any new positive cases among high school students since October 2, 2020. 


The regional and state agencies are supportive of us remaining in the hybrid learning model for as long as the following conditions continue to be met:


  • safety of students and staff remains our top priority.
  • We continue to partner with regional and state experts to share information.
  • We have the ability to trace and isolate close contacts. 
  •  The community’s capacity to test is adequate. 
  • We are able to maintain safe and effective staffing levels. 
  •  Compliance with MDE safety protocols remains high at all times and in all places, especially in athletics and activities. 
Out of respect for the impact any change in learning model has on students, employees, families and the school community, we will approach any such changes cautiously and be guided by multiple data sources. We will continue to keep you informed as we move forward.

In the meantime, you can help slow the spread of the COVID-19 by staying home when sick, wearing face coverings in public, covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands, maintaining six feet of social distance from others outside your home and staying away from large-group gatherings. Together, we are all partners in keeping our students, staff, and community safe, healthy, and learning. We are all necessary parts of our safety solution. Thank you for continuing to partner with us during this difficult time.

Respectfully,

Laine D. Larson 
Superintendent of Schools
Brainerd Public Schools - ISD 181 

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