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District 196 Response to COVID-19 – Thursday, March 12, 2020

We understand that everyone is dealing with new realities in almost every aspect of our daily lives, including schools and the health and education of our community’s children. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said earlier today that Minnesota is moving into the “community mitigation” stage of our response to COVID-19.

In a press conference this afternoon, MDH is recommending that schools remain open until further notice for a variety of reasons, including child nutrition needs, student access to other important school services, and the need for many families to have their children at school during the day so they can be at work. We understand parents and guardians will make decisions they feel are best for their own family and we ask them to continue to contact their school if their child will be absent. 

The Department of Health is recommending that schools take the following steps now, in the initial stages of community mitigation:

  • Implement social distancing and reduce mixing as much as possible, including reducing large gatherings as much as possible and limiting the number of attendees at any school event.
  • Prepare to implement e-learning if a school building should need to close for a period of time.
  • MDH also recommends considering an e-learning plan for students who are medically vulnerable.

In response to these recommendations from state health leaders, the district is implementing the following actions TODAY and continuing until further notice:

  • All school-sponsored evening activities at District 196 schools are canceled, except community education classes. This includes all band and choir concerts, plays, etc. Decisions about Minnesota State High School League events are being made by MSHSL
  • Teams can continue to have practice, until further notice.
  • All school field trips are canceled.
  • All school-sponsored international and domestic spring break trips have been postponed until later this year.
  • The district is implementing an e-learning plan in case a school building needs to be closed for a period of time and will provide additional information about this plan to staff, students and parents/guardians in the days to come

We have and will continue to follow direction from health officials in all decisions we make regarding our response to COVID-19 and ask that everyone do the same in order to minimize its impact in our community.

The district will continue to provide regular updates, as needed, through these emails, on the district website and social media. If there is a change in the school schedule, we would notify staff and families just like we do for a weather-related cancellation or delayed start, with a phone call and through all other district communication channels.

For the latest updates, visit our COVID-19 information webpage.