Osseo Area Schools Superintendent Cory McIntyre provided the Osseo School Board with an update on plans for the opening of school in the fall if the pandemic and health concerns are still around at that time.
A team of about 45 employees, which started as the COVID-19 Crisis Management Response team, is now the Fall 2020 School Planning Team. The group will be working over the next six weeks to create plans for the next school year and fall learning.
“What we’re working off is the assumption that we won’t get any clear guidance from the state until mid-July on what is expected,” McIntyre said. “So, we’re getting out ahead of that.”
The team has created three potential scenarios for the start of the 2020-21 school year in the fall.
The first scenario would have students learning remotely, like this spring, if there are still significant public health concerns in the fall.
The second scenario would be a modified on-campus approach. Schools would open with significant changes, which include social distancing, alternate schedules and modified capacity.
The final scenario would be a hybrid approach with a mix of in-class and at-home learning.
“We are also making sure we are thoughtful about any children or adults who can’t come to buildings if they have health risks or underlying health issues,” McIntyre said. “We are also working on how to ramp up our online or virtually-provided instruction elements too.”
He added the groups would be meeting two to three times a week to come up with plans for each scenario as it pertains to learning and how to make them work.
Board Chair Mike Ostaffe asked how can the board keep parents up to date on the plans. “They have to make plans, and their plans may not fit into what the current situation allows us to do,” he said.
Board Member Tanya Simons agreed, saying that was the number one question she is asked.
McIntyre said right now the best thing would be for the board to continue to update the public on the process the team is working on. The soonest a decision could be made would be mid-July.
This summer the district has been using a hybrid model for learning.
“I think it’s pretty clear, we all want to be back in school, and that’s our hope that we are fully back but we will continue to plan for these three options,” McIntyre said.
While the School Board could receive an update from the team as early as mid-July, it will likely be in August depending on guidance provided from the state.