Hopefully all of you had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday season and blessed new year. The year of 2020 definitely had its challenges for many, the area of education being one of them. It began in March with the move to distance learning and has required flexibility as we returned this fall.

As we usher in the new year, our Tri-City United School Board was scheduled to have a special board meeting on Monday, Jan. 4, where it was expected to discuss and act on a proposed change to the current distance learning model for all students. The proposal comes due to a change in the mindset at the state level. School districts are now being encouraged to return their early/elementary students to the buildings with an in-person model of instruction.

This mindset change also comes with new guidelines for mitigation, which include staff wearing both a mask and a face shield when providing in-person instruction and the opportunity for staff to have on site COVID-19 testing completed every two weeks.

The Tri-City United Public Schools proposal has received the support of local public health agencies and the Regional Support Team we have worked with over the past few months. If approved by the School Board, our pre-school through sixth grade students would all return for in-person instruction on Monday, Jan. 11. They would attend every day, unlike the alternating hybrid model that was used prior to moving to the current distance learning.

The middle school and high school students, grades 7-12, would return to their hybrid model of instruction, beginning on Jan. 21. There is a transition plan prior to that to provide additional support to our special services students and others that have struggled with distance learning as they finish classes for the first semester.

The TCU School Board, administration and staff is excited to have students back in the district buildings. This will be the most students we have had in the buildings since the middle of March. Our district residents can assist in keeping our students and staff in the buildings by adhering to the guidelines to decrease the spread of the virus. This includes wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding large groups, and frequently washing your hands. Thank you in advance for your assistance as we work toward having all of our students back on a daily basis!

Lonnie Seifert the superintendent of Tri-City United Schools. Reach him at lseifert@tcu2905.us or 507-364-8101.

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