NEW ULM, Minn. (KEYC) — With school districts making the call on whether to return to school, the New Ulm Public School District announced Tuesday it will begin the year with in-person learning for students in grades K-6, while implementing a hybrid model of learning for students in grades 7-12.
The New Ulm School Board unanimously approved the plan.
Students will attend school in-person on an alternating schedule based on their last name. Parents will also be asked to do a health screening of their child before they get to school and all students, staff and visitors must wear a mask.
“The plan that was approved was the base plan, so we can go to the left or right of it depending on what happens with the health conditions in Brown County,” said New Ulm Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Bertrang.
Those state guidelines, released by Gov. Tim Walz, the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education, determine which model a school should follow.
The guidelines are based on the number of new COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period. If a county’s new cases are less than 10 per 10,000 residents in a two-week period, then the state suggests school districts within that county can fully return to in-person learning for all students.
“Since the state published how we do this guidance, the case count in Brown County has gone down. So we are going to wait another two-week roll here to see if the case count maintains that,” said Bertrang.
For now, the base plan is set, however, Bertrang says if positive COVID-19 cases in the county are kept down, the district has the potential to switch to all in-person learning.