Bumping back the deadline by four days for families to have a better opportunity to explore what is best for their kids, Eastern Carver County Schools had 1,251 students opt-in to Online Learning Academy for the first semester (Jan. 22) as of Aug. 21.
District 112 administrators continued to meet throughout last weekend, working on answering the public's questions and preparing to safely bring back students into buildings throughout the district in the coming weeks.
"We are hearing obstacles and concerns and we are certainly listening and doing our best to support our families and their needs," said Erin Rathke, assistant superintendent for District 112, at an Aug. 17 school board meeting.
Rathke continued to express her and Superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams' commitment to finding a way to have high school students in a hybrid model by Oct. 8 or earlier.
The teaching and learning committee will host sessions for teachers to help process how to build classes around a two-day online and two-day in-person schedule. The high school principals will be working with their teams and teachers to provide professional development needed to get teachers prepared.
"Every in-person experience we have with students we should have value with it. What are the strategic things that can we do with people in-person, students in-person, that we can't do at home?" Rathke said.
Roughly 12% of students in the district are enrolled in Online Learning Academy, a five day a week format with clearly articulated student schedules and teacher-directed remote learning.
Instruction will be aligned to ECCS power standards and learning targets with instruction consistent with ECCS student-centered, personalizing learning philosophy. It will be a balanced learning experience that includes: live online instruction by their teacher, independent work, online check-ins and recorded instructions, lessons and tutorials.
Additional information released at the school board meeting included nutrition and building ventilation.
Students will have multiple ways to access meals depending on grade level and learning model choice. When students are in the school building, they will visit cafeterias as they have in previous years, but with extra safety and physical distancing measures in place.
Plexiglass barriers in serving lines and points of sale are installed, while all staff must wear masks and gloves. Student purchases will also be contactless and meal items are single-serve items only.
Take-home meal kits will be available for all K-12 students. Elementary students can receive a one-day kit picked up on Tuesday; middle school students can pick up a three-day meal kit on their last day of in-person instruction for the week; while high school students have the opportunity for a five-day meal pick-up located at Chanhassen High School.
Food kits can be taken home by students or picked up by adults, while delivery options are available if needed.
As for ventilation, school HVAC systems have been altered to allow for an increase of more outdoor air into the buildings, based on CDC guidelines. DeeDee Kahring, director of Finance & Operations for ECCS, said dampers have been opened farther than ever before for better airflow.
The first day of school remains scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 8.