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Delano School Board approves learning model shifts

DELANO, MN – Delano Intermediate School shifted to distance learning Dec. 2, and Delano Elementary School is in the process of shifting to a hybrid model that will have students in the classroom two days per week beginning Monday.

Delano School Board had previously made the decision to allow Superintendent Matt Schoen to make such decisions when time is of the essence, but has still made it a practice to approve the changes at the board level, as well.

The board officially approved the changes Dec. 3.

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Learning model shifts taking place in Delano schools

DELANO, MN – Due to a shortage of available staff, Delano Intermediate School shifted to distance learning Wednesday, after two transition planning days. Communications Coordinator Paul Downer announced the change to district parents Sunday afternoon.

“We apologize to our intermediate school parents for the short notice,” Downer wrote. “This has been a fast-developing situation.”

A day later, Downer announced that elementary students will begin shifting to a new hybrid model with two in-person learning days and three distance learning days, which was recommended by the district’s regional COVID-19 support team made up of representatives from Minnesota Department of Health and Wright County Public Health.

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Intermediate school shifting to distance learning Wednesday, Dec. 2

DELANO, MN – Delano Intermediate School is shifting to distance learning Wednesday, due to a shortage of available staff.

Monday and Tuesday are being used as transition planning days to prepare staff for the shift, so there are no regular classes for students.

District officials are consulting with the regional COVID-19 support team, including Minnesota Department of Health and Wright County Public Health, to receive further guidance.

“We apologize to our intermediate school parents for the short notice,” Communications Coordinator Paul Downer wrote in an email Sunday afternoon. “This has been a fast-developing situation.”

Delano Elementary School students returned to school Monday, following Thanksgiving break. Those students are attending school in person four days per week, with distance learning each Wednesday.

Delano High School students began full-time distance learning Monday.

The Delano Herald Journal will post updates as they become available.

 

Secondary students to shift to distance learning Nov. 30

DELANO, MN – Delano students in grades seven through 12 will shift to full-time distance learning Monday, Nov. 30, according to Delano Public Schools Communications Coordinator Paul Downer.

“We have done our best to maximize in-person learning to the extent we safely can this school year, but the time has now come for us to make a change for our older students,” Downer wrote in an email to district parents.

He said the change is necessary due to staffing shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated quarantines.

Our intention is to continue distance learning until the week of Jan. 11, when we will re-evaluate our high school learning model,” Downer wrote.

The Delano School Board will take official action on the learning model change during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19.

At this point, the district is not making any further learning model changes for younger students. The district had announced Nov. 11 that those students would shift to four in-person school days with distance learning on Wednesdays, and the school board approved that change Friday.

In addition to not having classes Nov. 25-27 due to Thanksgiving, secondary students will also be off Monday, Nov. 23, and Tuesday, Nov. 24, to allow staff members to plan and prepare for the transition.

DHS Principal Barry Voight will send more information soon regarding the transition and to clarify expectations for students on these days.

Although a Minnesota Department of Health representative said last week that we did not yet need to make a learning model change because the number of actual cases in our schools remains low, one of the thresholds she identified as a transition point was an inability to sustain regular operations due to staff absences caused by COVID cases and quarantines,” Downer wrote. “With recent changes to the number of staff members we have available, in addition to the increasing number of local and county cases, the time has come for Delano High School to change to a learning model that is less vulnerable to disruption caused by physical absences.”

The shift will also free up substitutes and support staff for the elementary and intermediate schools to allow those schools to continue to operate primarily in person. This has been a common practice for districts throughout the area and state.

“As mentioned above, public health officials have informed us that it is safe to continue in-person learning at the PreK-6 level because our school-related cases remain low, and because quarantines and other mitigation measures have so far prevented the transmission of the virus from occurring within our school facilities,” Downer wrote. “Had staffing not become a factor, we would have also been able to continue hybrid learning in the high school, per our last consultation meeting.”

While secondary students will not be in school, they will continue to have opportunities to participate in athletics and other activities.

The district will continue to monitor the status of our activities and will provide more information in the near future,” Downer concluded.

Elementary, intermediate students to attend school four days a week

DELANO, MN – After discussion with health officials and the regional COVID-19 support team Wednesday morning, Delano Public Schools is planning to implement a learning model change starting the week of Nov. 16, the district announced Wednesday afternoon.

Kindergarten through sixth-grade students will shift to four regular in-person learning days each week, with Wednesdays becoming distance learning days. There will be no change for secondary students, who will continue their current hybrid schedule, or for preschool students, whose schedules already align with a hybrid setup.

This means that Wednesday, Nov. 18, which is already a two-hour late start day, will be the first distance learning day for K-6 students.

The Delano School Board is expected to take official action on the learning model change at a special meeting Friday, Nov. 13.

While this announcement was not received in time to be included in the Friday, Nov. 13, edition of the Delano Herald Journal, more information and coverage of that meeting will be included in the Friday, Nov. 20, edition of the newspaper.

High school to present ‘Jookalorum!’

Jookalorum means something special or spectacular, and individuals involved with Delano High School’s production of “Jookalorum!” hope the play will be just that.
It will take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12, 13, 19, and 20; and 2 p.m. Nov. 14, in the Delano High School Performing Arts Center.
It features a singular sampling of sensational short stories from William Sidney Porter, better known as O. Henry.

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