KDHL Radio had our first community COVID-19 coronavirus updates replacing some coaches shows with the hold placed on spring high school sports.  Kenyon-Wanamingo High School Principal Matt Ryan told us, "I believe when this is over we will become better educators."

Cannon Falls Superintendent Jeff Sampson was very appreciative of the work of his staff and the support of the community.  Sampson and Ryan said the next week they will be crafting what distance learning will be if the school closure is extended beyond the end of the month.

Faribaul Public Schools Superintendent Todd Sesker joined Royal Ross and I for our first Faribault COVID-19 update show replacing the Faribault Coaches Show until spring sports get underway (we hope).  Faribault Police Captain Neal Pederson was also a guest on the show sponsored by G&H Property Management in Faribault.

Sesker applauded all the schools in the community for their collaboration during this difficult time when students are not in the school buildings.  He said Bethlehem Academy, Shattuck Academy, Nerstrand, Stem, Faribault Lutheran, Divine Mercy and Discovery Charter schools along with the State Academies for the Deaf and Blind have all been communicating because, "All of us are under the same difficult situation" so having that cooperation is beneficial.

Sesker also applauded his administrators in supporting the teachers in their efforts to take, "Traditional learning and transition it to a making this distance learning concept a reality."  The school board held an emergency meeting Thursday night and met virtually.  Sesker said it went very well.

A breakfast and lunch program is being made available to students that provides nutritious meals made in a safe atmosphere.

Starting Monday, March 23, 2020 the front doors of the Faribault Education Center on the southwest side of the high school campus will be open.  Free meals will be available for pickup from 7:00 a.m. until Noon. There are other school buildings providing meals from 10:00 a.m. until Noon.  Those are listed on the school district website.

As ordered by Governor Walz free childcare is being provided for essential workers. Health care workers and first responders, police, fire, ambulance, are part of what they are calling Tier 1 workers during the pandemic.  Tier 2 includes teachers, grocers, gas station employees. The phone number for more information is 507-333-6033.  The service is being conducted at Roosevelt Elementary School with no more than 10 people in a room.

A special COVID-19 page is being added to the school district website beginning Monday.  Sesker will be joining us on our KDHL AM Minnesota program 9:30 Monday morning to go over more information in depth.

If the Governor extends school closure past March 30th distance learning will be implemented.  Sesker told us, "Actually this has been one of the exciting things about this it has allowed us to be innovative and creative."

I asked the Superintendent if they have found a number of people without internet in working on a distance learning program.  He said they did and have been giving out free hotspots to those families and are working with an internet provider that will offer free internet service.  Sesker said, "One of our pushes is to make sure every single family is equal."

Ross is also a member of the Faribault City Council and said, "Everybody has been chipping in.  We definitely have to be proud of that. Community wide, county wide, state wide everybody is really chipping in and dealing with this in the best way they can."

Faribault Police Captain Neal Pederson emphasized the police station may be open on a limited basis to the public but they are still providing service to the community 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Captain Pedersen told us, "The magical three letters that everybody has learned this week is P-P-E, Personal Protective Equipment.  We have masks, gloves and if need be we have special hazmat suits to protect our uniforms.  Special goggles also.  That's why when people phone for service they will be asked a few extra questions to determine if their call can be handled by a phone call or email or officers will be required to respond."

Mayor Kevin Voracek also stopped by KDHL and encouraged everyone to utilize community restaurant take out and curbside meal services so they will be able to open when all of this is over.

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