Shakopee Public Schools Superintendent Mike Redmond announced Monday night that elementary schools will transition to full-time distance learning Monday, Nov. 30.
The decision, based on recommendations from the district's Pandemic Response Advisory Team, arrives on the heels of an announcement last week where families with secondary students were told they would transition to full-time distance learning beginning Friday, Nov. 20.
The decision to transition to full-time distance learning hinged on a number of factors, Redmond said, a primary one being following 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. 5 by the state was 37.3.
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.
Detailed plans for transitioning students in the "in-person, hybrid and distance learning" — or IHD — model include the following:
Timeline for transitioning elementary schools:
- Nov. 20: Last day of hybrid learning.
- Nov. 23: Transition planning for elementary staff (no school for grades K-5).
- Nov. 24: Transition planning for elementary staff (no school for grades K-5).
- Nov. 25-27: No school for students (Thanksgiving break).
- Nov. 30: Begin distance learning for grades K-5.
Timeline for transitioning for secondary students:
- Nov. 18-19: Transition planning for secondary teachers and staff, no school for grades 6-12 (Shakopee Online in session).
- Nov. 20: Distance learning begins for all secondary students in grades 6-12.
Earlier this year, the state offered the following recommendations for schools based on the new virus cases per 10,000 people in the county:
- 0 to 10 new cases per 10,000: In-person learning for all students.
- 10 to 20 new cases per 10,000: In-person learning for elementary, hybrid for secondary.
- 20 to 30 new cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for all students.
- 30 to 50 new cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for elementary, distance for secondary.
- 50 or more new cases per 10,000: Distance learning for all age levels.
The week of Nov. 2, Shakopee Public Schools reported nine students and 10 staff members had COVID-19, with a running total of 80 total cases between the two groups since the beginning of the school year. The numbers equate to 12.8 cases per 10,000 among students and a total of 28.1 cases per 10,000 among students and staff, according to figures provided by the district for the weeks of Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.
For the same date range, among middle schools, the combined total of cases per 10,000 among students and staff was 25.3 and among high school students and staff, 59.3.
Among all K-12 schools, excluding Shakopee Online and Tokata Learning Center, there were 38.3 cases per 10,000 among students and staff for the weeks of Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.
If the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, it's possible the district could transition to distance learning even sooner, Redmond said.
"We're certainly going to continue monitoring it, we want to make sure our buildings are safe," Redmond said.
On Monday, Nov. 9, Scott County reported 876 new cases over the last week.
Additional reporting from Reporter Christine Schuster.