Faribault Superintendent Says Distance Learning Possible in Future
Faribault Public School District Superintendent Todd Sesker is eager to get kids back in the buildings soon. Sesker talked about kindergarten through second grade students being back every day beginning Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
January 18th is Martin Luther King Junior Day so there is no school. Governor Walz announced a couple weeks ago that elementaries would be ordered back open for students beginning the 18th.
Sesker says, "In the fine print it does say you can only roll out three grade levels at a time. Two weeks space between each of those grade levels. Because the preschoolers are so isolated we can go ahead and treat them separately. So our K-2 will be coming in on the 19th and then grades 3 through 5 will come in on February second."
Middle and High School students will be coming back eventually also starting with a hybrid according to the Faribault Public School Superintendent, "Half the kids will come on Monday and Tuesday. The other half will come in on Thursday and Friday with Wednesday being the distance learning day. It's exactly the same model we were in prior to going to completely distance learning before the winter break."
I asked Sesker if distance learning days will continue after the COVID pandemic is over.
He said it was a good question, "We're looking at all the positive things that have been coming out of this I guess forced learning model. There may be things that we find out are actually better educationally for kids than what we were doing prior to the pandemic. I can't say definitely that we are going to keep the distance learning day. I do know there are some advantages to having that, what we'll call student centered learning, where they're taking some more ownership to their learning instead of the teacher standing up in the front of the classroom and lecturing."
I asked Sesker how the Covid Coordinator position (actually Health and Safety Manager) has worked out and he replied just managing the staff and student cases is a chore, "If you get a couple of students that have to go in quarantine for two weeks on Monday and then on Wednesday she (Haley Storms finds 14 or 15 more students that have to go in quarantine she has to keep track of that and make sure those kids stay out of school for those required number of days."
"Same thing with teaching staff. Although teachers now, if they are not showing any signs and have tested negative, they don't have to stay out the whole 14 days. We can bring them back after 7 days. Students still have to wait 14 days. I'm glad that she's around because I don't know how Nicole Yochum (Human Resources Director) and I could have kept track of all those different pieces."
You can listen to the Thursday, January 7, 2021 KDHL AM Minnesota program below:
In Pictures: What Education Looks Like Around the World During a Pandemic