After being able to keep to in-person learning for close to three months of the current school year, Upsala has recently made changes due to COVID case numbers. The high number of staff and students needing to quarantine put a strain on the school’s ability to function well.
“We have made the decision to move our secondary students to our hybrid learning plan through the remainder of this semester,” said Supt. Vern Capelle. “Also, Tuesday, we moved our elementary students to distance learning for the next two weeks due to a few confirmed cases in multiple grade levels and a significant number of students and staff who will be quarantined as close contacts.”
Currently, there are 40 students and six staff members out of school due to close contact.
“All active COVID-19 cases are elementary age. We are waiting to hear on a few more test results from some students,” said Principal Nick Klug.
Secondary students will be in the hybrid plan through Jan. 15, 2021, the end of the semester.
“We plan on bringing the elementary students back to in-person learning Dec. 7, if the case/quarantine numbers decline enough to allow for that,” Capelle said.
Revisions to the school calendar have also been made to comply with Executive Order 20-94, which provides for additional teacher prep time. To do this, a one-hour late start for students has been scheduled every Wednesday beginning Dec. 2. This practice will remain in effect for the remainder of the school year, or until the peacetime emergency ends.
Early release days for the remainder of the year have also been removed from the calendar. The exception to this will be last day of school, if the in-person learning model is being used at that time.
“Our goal for this year is to deliver instruction in-person to as many students as possible for as long as possible. We will continue to focus on that,” Capelle said. “Moving to a distance learning model in our elementary is in response to high numbers of students and staff that will be in quarantine. Hopefully, after this two-week reset, we will be able to return to an in-person learning plan for all K-6 students.”
Upsala School Board Briefs Other business coming before the Upsala School Board at its November meeting, Wednesday, included:
• Approved a leave-of-absence request by Samantha VanWienen;
• Approved the 2020 audit report as presented. Schlenner Wenner submitted an unmodified (clean) opinion. “The audit report was very positive with improvements in the financial position and unassigned fund balance of the district. Overall, the unassigned fund balance increased approximately 2.5%. It was 13.2% at the end of FY19 to 15.7% at year-end of FY20. The total fund balance increased 17.5%,” said Supt. Vern Capelle;
• Adopted the Resolution Establishing Combined Polling Places for Multiple Precincts;
• Approved the Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Certificates of Election;
• Approved the resolution of the School Board supporting application to Minnesota State High School League Foundation; and
• Authorized the administration to hire an additional boys basketball coach due to the anticipated participation numbers.
The next regular meeting of the Upsala School Board will be Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the high school media center.