GMR Board approves beginning with in-person learning

Greenbush School site

At the Greenbush-Middle River August 19 board meeting, the board approved the 2020-21 school year beginning with an in-person learning model and its Back-to-School Planning Guide. This guide includes the district’s plans for in-person, hybrid learning (mix of both in-person and distance), and distance learning. The district’s Back-to-School Planning Guide will be posted on the website between 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm on August 19.

“It’s pretty clear that back to school is going to be a lot different than what we were used to and what we’ve seen in the past,” GMR Superintendent Larry Guggisberg said at the board’s August 17 meeting. “But this is what we need to do for the safety of our teachers, safety of our students. It’s what we need to do for flexible schedules and for equity for all our students.”

The GMR District is starting with an in-person model due to its lower COVID-19 case rate in Roseau County. The district covers multiple counties, but, according to Guggisberg, the state is requiring districts to use its county with the highest number of cases when determining what model it should implement.

To help districts determine the learning model used, the state provided recommended options based on the county’s 14-day case rate level per 10,000 people. To host in-person learning for all students, the state is recommending that schools fall in the 0 to less than 10 cases per 10,000 over 14 days by county of residence.

According to numbers provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, Roseau County sat at 5.17 cases per 10,000 between July 19 and August 1, placing the GMR District in the in-person learning for all students category.
“Most rural schools are starting with an in-person (model),” Guggisberg said.

The district put its Back-to-School Planning Guide together with the assistance of the Ad Hoc Back to School Committee, one comprised of students, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals and other school community members. This committee met three times: July 28, August 5, and August 12.

At the same time as the guide, the district is also releasing a couple surveys on its website. This includes its transportation survey, allowing its transportation services to know what students will be on its bus routes in order to properly plan.

As for the other survey, the district will release a survey for those families who choose to have their children learn via distance learning, including questions related to technology, (computer or laptop availability, internet connectivity) and meals (whether or not they want to have “Grab and Go” school meals for breakfast and/or lunch). As part of the state safety plan, Governor Tim Walz is requiring schools to give families the option to go to distance learning no matter what model it implements.

Look for more information on the GMR School website, located at: www.middleriver.k12.mn.us . For the complete story, including more information about the guide, read the August 19 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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