Mound Westonka High School has reported a third case of COVID-19 among either its staff or student population, according to an Oct. 22 email notice sent out to families of MWHS students.

“We were notified by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) of a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a member of the Mound Westonka High School community with exposure dates of Monday, October 19 (“A” Day) and Wednesday, October 21 (“A” Day),” the communication reads.

Westonka has also had one case at Shirley Hills Primary, this in late September, and one at Hilltop over MEA weekend. The case at Shirley Hills had involved an individual who at the time was self-isolating and whose diagnosis had no impact on the school building. The case at Hilltop was communicated to school officials over MEA weekend and also did not impact other students or staff.

Data released Oct. 22 by MDH reveal that the case rate of COVID-19 in Hennepin County has increased for the fourth consecutive week to 25.25 cases per 10,000 population, up from 23.22 the week before. The Oct. 22 rate represents all confirmed cases for the period Sept. 27 through Oct. 10.

Westonka officials, in coordination with representatives from MDH, look at even more local-level data trends, as well as community spread within its school buildings, in determining if and when a transition to a more distanced learning model is needed. So far, the original models of in-person learning for elementary students and hybrid learning for middle and high school students remain unaffected. The most recent case rate in the suburban Hennepin County zone covering the Westonka school district was reported at 23.8, compared to 19.5 one week ago.

Westonka superintendent Kevin Borg addressed the current situation in his “Borg Report,” posted to the district website Oct. 22:

“According to a Regional Support Team representative from Hennepin County Public Health, because Westonka Public Schools is not currently experiencing spread of COVID-19 in our schools, we do not need a learning model review at this time based solely on one week of local case rates in a different range than our current model. If we see several weeks of case rates in the 20+ range, we will be setting up a Regional Support Team consultation, per their recommendation, to determine if a learning model change is warranted.”

Borg exhorted everyone in the community to adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions and urged families to have contingency plans in place if the district were to move to a different learning model in future.

“I appreciate the stress that is involved with this decision making and how it impacts our staff and families. It continues to be important that everyone plan for all three learning model scenarios. Sitting down as a household to answer questions ahead of time and make a plan will help to ensure you are not left scrambling if/when we need to make a change.”

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