The only certainty for the Minnesota school year during the COVID-19 pandemic is that nothing is certain.
That was proven yet again Monday, Oct. 12, in yet another special morning meeting of the Osseo School Board. At the online meeting, the board approved Superintendent Cory McIntyre’s recommendation to continue to the district’s hybrid learning model in K-12 until further notice due to rising coronavirus cases.
At the Sept. 29 board meeting, it was decided that in-person learning for the district’s elementary schools would begin on Oct. 19. But officials had no choice but to delay that decision to remain in compliance with Gov. Tim Walz’s Minnesota Safe Learning Plan and guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education.
“There are continuing concerns about the record number of cases in other states, and we can expect to see those numbers show up in our weekly numbers in reporting periods to come,” McIntyre said. “Moving to full in-person learning at elementary level would require approval from MDE, MDH along with Hennepin County Public Health, which we do not have at this time.”
Positive cases in Hennepin County from Sept. 15-28 are at 22.1 per 10,000 residents, which requires the district to use the hybrid model. The numbers in Brooklyn Park remained stable, but Brooklyn Center’s cases rose to 27.8 from 21.7, and Maple Grove increased from 18.7 to 25.4.
The six-person board all agreed that while this is a difficult decision, they have no choice to but to follow the state guidelines.
“We do not take this decision lightly,” McIntyre said. “It’s affecting the lives of all of our families, staff and students. For some, it means added stress. For others, it will bring welcome relief. I’ve heard from many parents who strongly oppose this decision and many who strongly support it. There’s no easy answer and no way to please everyone. These are extremely trying times. This year, change has been our only constant and it’s challenging our collective spirit.
“The goal of this revised recommendation is to provide our scholars the best possible education as safely as possible.”
“We all hope and pray that the COVID-19 case numbers start to fall so that we can take our children back into the elementary schools full-time,” Board Chair Mike Ostaffe said.