Supt. Troy Ferguson sent the following letter to parents last night.

Dear Morris Area Schools Stakeholders, Date 11/18/2020

The Morris Area Schools Incident Response Team met again this afternoon to further discuss our learning model moving forward. Our focus from the start of this pandemic has been to maintain a safe environment for students and staff, keep kids in school as long as we can, and consider both their
physical and mental health and well being. We have used the “scalpeled” approach to our decision making recommended by MDE and our dashboard numbers have been low compared to our community and other schools and communities across the state. This has allowed us to keep our kids in school longer to this point. With the holidays so near, there are growing concerns with the increased cases across the state and possible increased spread as a result of people gathering. After careful consideration and much discussion, I am announcing that beginning Monday, November 30, Morris Area High School will move to full-time Distance Learning and Morris Area Elementary School will move to full-time Hybrid Learning. We are making one change to our Elementary Hybrid Model; Kindergarten through fifth grade will attend every day with increased social distancing and Sixth grade will follow the A/B model like the high school does when they are in Hybrid. We are doing everything we can to keep our youngest learners in school for as long as we are able. We will follow this plan until December 11 at which time we will reassess.

There are numerous logistical considerations as a result of this change:

1) Increased hybrid social distancing at MAES may help us keep our youngest and most vulnerable learners in school longer. This will likely lessen the burden on families of younger children and we will try to do that as long as the conditions allow.
2) In the distance learning and hybrid model, school-age care, for a fee, will be provided to all District enrolled students that need care. In extreme circumstances in which no Tier I parent or Tier I guardian is at home or can’t work from home, the fee for school-age care may be waived with proper documentation from the employer(s). All students must pre-register for school-age care (K-6) through Morris Area Community Education. chickman@morris.k12.mn.us or 320.589.4394.
3) Governor Walz also addressed the state this evening. He issued Executive Order 20-99 which placed new restrictions on youth and organized adult sports and high school sports and activities which will be suspended until December 18. This pause takes effect Friday, November 20 at 11:59 PM.
4) Wednesday, November 25 was scheduled to be an early release day. We are changing that to a no school day for students in order to facilitate the change in learning plans. Staff will be on duty but no students will attend that day.

5) On Monday, Nov. 23, Group A will attend the High School and Group B will attend Tuesday, Nov. 24.
6) The Elementary Office will let 6th grade parents know which days their students will be in school each week.
7) The calendar involving weekly Wednesday early releases will continue this year in all three of the learning models (In-Person, Hybrid, Distance).
8) Covid Reporting while in Distance Learning: In an effort to help our District and community track COVID-19 we are asking parents to contact our school offices if your child tests positive while they are out during Distance Learning. The health office will continue to be available to
answer questions and offer guidance regarding COVID-19. bmalek@morris.k12.mn.us or 320.585.2003.
9) Morris Area Schools will continue to provide free meals to students who are Distance Learning, a survey/sign-up will be sent to families soon.
We are working closely with MDH and our local health partners to monitor the situation and we will continue to make changes as they are necessary. I thank you all for helping us to do what we can to keep our students and staff in school. We are asking all members of our community to help minimize the spread of illness by taking the following actions:
● Protect yourself and others by wearing a face covering.
● Social distance and stay 6 feet away from people.
● Wash your hands often with soap and water; covering your cough and sneeze; and avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.
● If you are sick, stay home from work, child care and other activities.

Sincerely,
Troy Ferguson
Superintendent

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