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Decision about returning to full onsite learning hoped for by the end of the week

Posted: Mon, Sep 14, 2020 8:15 PM

The Decorah Community School District has entered its third week of a five week hybrid learning plan, and School Board President Ron Fadness says, "The school year has gotten off to a good start." Students and staff are learning how to safely be in school by wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing when possible. Decorah Superintendent Mark Lane comments, "The schools have done a great job acclimating to COVID learning environments."

When this plan, with all its guidelines, was approved at the beginning of August, September 28th was the target date for having students return to full onsite learning. With September now half way over, decisions will need to be made about how to continue with the unprecedented school year.

Lane says, "We are in a sweet spot right now since we are between Labor Day and before the flu season begins."  He continued, "We've hit the goals we intended to hit, we've learned new routines, and now we're continuing to monitor the numbers. Our goal continues to move students in their learning."

Positive COVID-19 cases are currently at 6% for Winneshiek County, but Director Krista Vanden Brink reminded the school board at the meeting Monday evening, "We are not out of the Labor Day woods yet." Any positive results from gatherings around Labor Day should be collected and documented by this upcoming weekend. Vanden Brink also mentioned that we are inching closer to flu season which will complicate everything already going on.

Vanden Brink continued, saying, "Families need to keep encouraging hand washing, face coverings, and keeping the social circles small. We need everyone to be participating in these things."

While a final decision wasn't made about whether or not students will head back to full-time onsite learning on the 28th, Lane commented, "The way to combat fear is with information." He will be sending out more information about this decision by the end of the week. A decision will be made after current COVID-19 numbers are monitored and evaluated.