Bell video

Sweeney Elementary School Principal Derek Bell waves hello to second-grade hybrid students who are learning from home Sept. 10, the first day of school for elementary students.

Shakopee Public Schools moved up its transition from hybrid to distance learning due to the “worsening of the number of COVID-19 cases in our area and their varied impacts on our ability to provide educational services to our students,” according to a recent announcement from the district. 

Schools will begin distance learning full-time Monday, Nov. 23. Originally, that transition was scheduled to begin on Nov. 30 for elementary schools and Friday, Nov. 20 for secondary schools.

Schools will also be out this week from Nov. 18-20 to give teachers time to prepare for fully distanced learning.

With rapidly increasing COVID-19 case rates, the district said its services have been greatly impacted.

“Our ability to provide services grows increasingly tenuous by the day,” the district announcement said.

The new plan is below:

Elementary and secondary schools

  • Hybrid B: onsite Nov. 16
  • Hybrid A: onsite Nov. 17
  • No school for students Nov. 18, 19 and 20
  • Distance learning begins Monday, Nov. 23

Tokata ALC

  • Hybrid B: onsite Nov. 16
  • Hybrid A: onsite Nov. 17
  • No school for students Nov. 18, 19 and 20
  • Onsite learning suspended from Nov. 23 through Dec. 22, 2020

Programs at Pearson Early Learning Center

  • Onsite programs continue through Nov. 20
  • No school for students Nov. 23, 24 and 30
  • Onsite learning suspended from Dec. 1 through Dec. 11

The decision to transition to full-time distance learning hinged on a number of factors, Superintendent Mike Redmond said last week, a primary one being guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health regarding the number of cases per 10,000 within the county.

The most recent 14-day case rate per 10,000 residents in Scott County, released Nov. 12 by the state, was 60.7, up from 37.3 last week. County case rate data lags by about two weeks from the time COVID-19 tests are administered to when those results are reported. 

As the district continues to monitor case numbers and future projections, it's "very unlikely" schools will transition back to hybrid learning before the end of the year, Redmond said last week.

Additional reporting by Regional Editor Rachel Minske. 

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.