By Mark Messman, Superintendent EV-W District #463
Reflections on 2020-2021
It’s been a year since Governor Walz temporarily closed schools and then implemented distance learning. Within days, our school staff and families were forced to make long-term plans for education, childcare, meals, and transportation. The pandemic created mass closures, stay-at-home orders, and significantly changed our lives. Since then, there have been many long nights and tireless weekends as we’ve worked together to analyze, interpret, and implement ever-changing mitigation strategies to keep each other safe. I’m grateful for your support, cooperation, and hard work throughout the past 12 months as we’ve transitioned learning models, and now attempt to keep schools open for in-person learning.
Although we’re beginning to sense hope and progress in the fight against COVID, it’s premature to think we can discontinue all of our mitigation strategies. Parenting, educating, and our careers typically present challenges, but this year has been unlike all others. We’ve added COVID testing, contact tracing, PPE procurement, quarantines, pages and pages of MDE/MDH pandemic guidance, and more. None of these topics were covered in education classes or licensure programs but, working together, supporting the needs of others, and exercising patience and flexibility will guide us in successfully combating this pandemic.
As we enter this next phase of the COVID journey, we need to continually prepare ourselves to be the best role models, parents, and educators we can be for the students of EV-W and the larger school-community. Please, continue to wear your mask, wash hands, socially distance, and avoid large gatherings. It’s imperative that we keep the local numbers down and prevent transmission in our schools.
You may have heard that Governor Walz recently announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all Minnesotans 16 and older beginning Tuesday, March 30. The goal is to get as many vaccines into arms as possible, as the pandemic is showing signs of increased activity and the spread of the new variant appears to be more infectious.
If you’re 16 or older and
haven’t been vaccinated yet, be sure to check out the State of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. You can find this vaccination resource at mn.gov and then click on the Vaccine Connector link.
EV-W Summer School 2021
Eden Valley-Watkins students can expect to see more robust learning opportunities and academic enrichment programs this summer. The district is still waiting for the final summer allocation of state funds, but we’re moving forward in planning the summer programs.
The school district will be offering enrichment classes to students who need an extra boost after a year of learning during the pandemic, and for students who simply want to take advantage of the academic, social, and physical activities offered.
A new bill recently passed in the House will provide COVID-19 aid for summer school funding. At this point, we’re not sure of the monetary amount we’ll receive, but we’re optimistic and plan to direct it toward the expansion of summer school programming.
You should be receiving more summer school information from your child’s school in the near future. Until then, you can plan on the district providing you with transportation, breakfast and lunch, enrichment sessions from
8 a.m. until noon, and four days per week. Please reserve the following dates and times for your child’s participation in summer school.
• M – TH, June 21-July 1.
• M – TH, July 12-22.