Northland Schools Begin Work on Fall Learning Plans After Gov. Walz’s Reopening Announcement

CARLTON, Minn.– Governor Walz’s plan to for schools this fall will let districts choose one of the three options, in person, hybrid, and distance learning. All options can be shifted depending on if Coronavirus cases spike. Now, schools around the Northland are working hard find the best solution for their districts.

“The whole thing is fluid. And we just need to be ready to improvise, adapt, and overcome,” said Interim Carlton Superintendent John Engstrom.

Engstrom likes that even though schools have to make their own choice for next school year, the state is still guiding districts on how to move forward and he plans on getting the school ready for classes in person.

“We’re not truly left to our own devices. We’re going to be driven by what the medical [data] and what the metrics say we should do,” said Engstrom. “It’s not me just saying, I think we should be this.”

The district put together a group to work out a plan for each option. They will meet Monday to discuss in-person plans further, go over safety protocols and all other options for the fall. This includes ordering more PPE and temperature checks as people come in the school.

“I’ve seen some things and I’ve never seen anything quite like this. It’s unique,” said Engstrom.

Over in Proctor, Principle Tim Rohweder says while the district is able to be fully in-person, but they want to meet with the community to find out what’s best.

There will be a school board meeting Monday, allowing parents and community members the opportunity to offer their input on how the school should move forward this fall.

“We take pride in the trust that they give us with their students,” said Rohweder. “So it’s important that before we make any decisions, we get their input on what their comfortable with and with what they’re prepared to be able to do.”

If class is in session, some social distancing options could be moving lunchrooms around the school, and teachers wearing face shields.

Ted Kiefat is a teacher at Proctor and has a son who will be a junior this fall. Keifat says he and other parents want their kids to be back in school but they want to make sure their kids are in the safest environment they can be in.

“It’s tough because you don’t know where the balance is. I want him here but at the same time I want him safe because we just don’t know enough about COVID-19 at this stage.”

Both schools say no matter what option they go with to start the school year, they feel prepared if they need to make adjustments throughout the school year if conditions change.

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