PLSAS District Services Center

The Prior Lake-Savage Area School District Services Center, 4540 Tower St. SE in Prior Lake.

More than 600 students in the Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools District tested positive or were quarantined for COVID-19 between Jan. 3-10 as students and staff return from winter break Tuesday, prompting the district to shift to distance learning beginning Thursday, Jan. 13.

Superintendent Teri Staloch sent out a letter to staff and families Monday evening stating that upon returning from winter break, the district experienced a significant increase in COVID-19 case rates which are presenting operational challenges that the district and others across the metro are experiencing.

"From Jan. 3 to Jan. 10, 632 students have been reported absent due to a positive COVID-19 test or are in quarantine due to direct exposure to COVID-19 in their household," stated Staloch. "Over the weekend we announced two classrooms, one at Five Hawks and one at Glendale, have moved to distance learning for this week due to the high number of COVID-19 case rates in those classrooms."

Staloch also stated that several buildings are nearing 5% student absences due to COVID-19 and more than 12% of staff are absent.

"In addition to these absences, we have more than 53 (4.5% of staff) open staffing positions in the district," stated Staloch. "Substitute fill rates are approximately 32%."

Distance learning

Staloch informed families that the district consulted with the Minnesota Department of Health as well as Scott County Public Health to make the decision to shift to distance learning.

"Staffing shortages continue to present significant challenges to the day-to-day operations of our schools. Our administrators and staff have been working hard to fill in wherever needed but continued absences, combined with staffing and substitute shortages have left us with operational challenges we cannot overcome at this time," Staloch stated in the letter.

The updated school schedule for grades E-12 is as follows:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 12: Distance learning planning and PD day for staff (no school for K-12, ECFE, ECSE and Circle of Friends Preschool)
  • Thursday, Jan. 13: Distance learning
  • Friday, Jan. 14: Distance learning
  • Monday, Jan. 17: No school, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Tuesday, Jan. 18: Distance learning

Next steps

Staloch stated that the district will communicate its Jan. 19 learning model status by noon on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

"We believe these distance learning days, along with the existing non-student day on Jan. 17, will allow students and staff who are out due to illness to isolate and recover, and provide an opportunity for eligible students and staff to get a vaccine booster," stated Staloch. "PLSAS will be working to acquire more testing kits and PPE for staff."

Athletics, activities and events will continue as scheduled. Additional information may be provided by coaches and advisors.