We wanted to provide you with an update of the current COVID-19 situation in Minnesota and our district’s efforts in response. We know there is a great deal of anxiety in our community, about how this virus could impact us all, and we share your concern. This situation is changing rapidly, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to work with the MN Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), as well as our federal and local health agencies.
At this time, there is no recommendation for widespread school closure. We are regularly communicating with MDH and MDE and should the recommendations of the state and local health agencies change, or should there be an impact to our school community, the district will immediately take action.
The strategy currently being recommended is social distancing, which includes minimizing the gathering of large groups. This slows the spread of the disease and is designed to increase protection of our most vulnerable populations. To ensure the safety of our students and staff, the district is implementing the following, through March 31:
- All large group events and activities, including school assemblies, will be canceled or postponed.
- All district field trips will be canceled.
- As of Saturday morning, 3/14, all evening and weekend Community Education programming and outside group use of district facilities will be canceled.
- Club Care, Full Day preschool, after-school youth enrichment, and targeted services programming will continue as scheduled as long as school is in session and during Spring Break (for students already enrolled).
The district will continue to evaluate the situation to determine whether an extension of the March 31st date is needed.
We know there is a possibility that schools will be closed, and district staff has been working hard to put plans in place to ensure continuity both of education and nutrition services in the event that closure is long-term. ECCS does not currently have a state-approved e-learning plan but newly released guidance from MDE grants us the leeway to move forward in preparing a distance learning plan in the event of COVID-19-related school closure.
Distance learning options will look different across age groups. In the event we do close, teachers will be in direct contact with families to give directions for accessing ongoing learning materials. The district is also working to make sure that students without regular access to the internet will be provided with the resources they need to continue their learning.
To support this work, there will be no school for students on Friday, March 20th. Also, there will be no Club Care, full-day preschool, half-day preschool, or ECFE classes on Friday, March 20. Staff will still report and use the day for planning day so they can implement distance learning following spring break should the Department of Health and Department of Education recommend a school closure. The district is also working on alternative plans should a cancellation happen before spring break.
We are continuing to update the public website at https://eccs.mn/covid19 with resources and answers to frequently asked questions, including spring break travel and what happens if a person is diagnosed.
Our commitment as always is to the health and safety of our students, staff, and larger community, and we continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to make sure our policies are aligned with their recommendations. Thank you for working with us to keep our entire community as safe as possible.