NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Students in the Mankato and St. Peter Public Schools system will transition to full distance learning in the next two weeks.
In a note to parents and families, Mankato Superintendent Paul Peterson said it is a difficult decision to make, and will likely create additional stress and challenge for students, staff and families. Peterson says student and staff health and safety have been and will continue to be our top priority.
“This is a difficult day, these are tough times, and we understand that these are not overly popular decisions to make, but what we do pledge to our community and our kids is that we are going to do everything we can to keep you safe, do the necessary things in our community so that we can get these numbers moving in the right direction to, then, welcome people back into traditional school,” Peterson said.
Secondary schools (Central High School, East High School, West High School, Dakota Meadows Middle School and Prairie Winds Middle School) will shift to distance learning beginning on Wednesday, November 18. Middle and high school teachers will use Tuesday, November 17 to plan for this transition.
Elementary schools will shift to distance learning on Monday, November 30. K-5 students' last day at school will be Friday, November 20. Elementary teachers will use Monday, November 23 to plan for this transition.
Mankato Area Public Schools stresses that the decisions they make are all based on data, which will be the deciding factor on when they return to a less restrictive learning model.
Thursday, November 12 -- Last Regular “B” Day
Friday, November 13 -- No School (End of Quarter)
Monday, November 16 -- Last Regular “A” Day
Tuesday, November 17 -- No School (Teacher Transition Day)
Wednesday, November 18 -- Distance Learning Begins
November 12-20 -- Students will remain in their current learning model
November 23 -- No School (Teacher Transition Day)
November 24-25 -- No School (Conferences)
November 30 -- Distance Learning Begins
MAPS says further information on the distance learning plans will be shared by individual schools and programs.
The district says they will continue to monitor local COVID-19 data on a daily basis and communicate any learning model changes accordingly. MAPS says they anticipate being in the distance learning model for several weeks, potentially through winter break and into mid-January.
Fall activities are planned to continue to the end of the season. Winter activities will be evaluated based on COVID-19 data shared by the Minnesota Department of Health and local county public health.
There are instances in which students' educational programs call for specialized services that cannot be provided in a distance learning model. On a limited basis, MAPS will prioritize providing in-person learning experiences to students who need these services. The district will communicate with eligible families who may receive in-person services during distance learning.
Free meals will continue to be available during distance learning. Breakfast and lunch will be available for pickup from 11 AM to 1 PM at the following sites: Eagle Lake, Franklin, Rosa Parks, Hoover, East and West. Pre-ordering is required and can be done online.
Starting December 9, a week’s worth of food will be available for pick up from 4 to 6 PM on Wednesdays at East High School, 2600 Hoffman Road, and Dakota Meadows Middle School, 1900 Howard Drive. Pre-ordering will be required and can be done online. More information will be provided closer to the date.
Breakfast and lunch will also be provided at the four ACES sites during distance learning days for students attending ACES: Eagle Lake, Franklin, Rosa Parks and Hoover elementary schools.
MAPS will offer free child care for Tier I essential workers during distance learning. For additional information or to register, please contact staff at 507-387-5501. Registration information is available online. Please note space is limited based on staffing capacity.
All St. Peter students will begin distance learning starting Monday, November 16. The district says that will continue until at least January 4. All sports and other activities also are canceled.
Nicollet, Tri-City United, United South Central and LeSueur Henderson have also made changes to their learning plans.