Waseca kindergarten through 12th grade students will return to the hybrid learning model the week of Jan. 11.
Waseca Superintendent Eric Hudspith shared the updates to the school learning model and school safety protocols at the Dec. 17 school board meeting.
The district is following Gov. Tim Walz’s newest executive order, but he anticipates that some of the information and guidelines will change by January depending on how winter break goes.
“Right now, I’m optimistic, because our staff are doing the right thing, our students are doing the right thing,” Hudspith said of returning on Jan. 11 to hybrid learning. “So we’re looking at managing that first week in January with distance learning and then hybrid learning and getting them back in school.”
Hartley Elementary School’s hybrid learning model is in-person Tuesdays-Fridays, which the students and staff previously followed.
A potential change that could happen the week of Jan. 18 is the Waseca Intermediate Students could move to the same hybrid model as Hartley to be in-person four days a week as well. According to the new executive order, WIS students are classified as elementary age, allowing more flexibility for the school.
Administration will make the decision whether to move WIS to the in-person hybrid model after winter break with monitoring how things are going. WIS will otherwise run on the “blue and gold” hybrid model of two days in school and two days distance learning each week.
“That’s exciting for us to hopefully get our elementary students back to four days a week, on the 18th would be our goal,” Hudspith said.
The Waseca Junior Senior High School students will remain in the hybrid learning model from the week of Jan. 11 until further notice on the blue and gold schedule.
Hudspith shared that the school will continue to bring in students who need additional support and potentially bring in some students for one class period for the more advanced classes.
“We are looking forward to having our students back in school more often and are excited to see them back in hybrid model very soon,” Hudspith said.
With the elementary students returning to four days a week at Hartley, the staff will be required, per the executive order, to wear both a mask and a face shield along with students having to wear a mask for their physical education classes.
Staff in the district will also have access to a saliva COVID-19 test they can take every other week in the school, if they choose to do so. This test isn’t required, but is an available option for the staff who want to use it.
The district schools will not have to change the way lunch is served, the executive order states, because the students are able to be properly socially distanced in the common areas for lunch.
Another change in the executive order is the school transportation guidelines.
Instead of buses being at 50% capacity, it is more about keeping students socially distanced on the bus. The exception to the rule is if the windows are down one inch, then the capacity can be higher. The school district is working on the details of transportation.
Practices for winter sports will also return on Jan. 4.
The activities department will communicate with coaches and families regarding the implementation of any new safety measures and the district is waiting for guidance from Minnesota State High School League for information about competitions.
Look for communication from the district or on the district website for changes or updates.