K-12 Prepares for Return to School with Guidelines

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Minn.– As the school year approaches, many have questions about how COVID protocols are going to come into play. Wednesday we spoke with a couple different superintendents around Saint Louis County to find out what their plan is.

Duluth and Hermantown superintendents have a similar approach when it comes to planning for the Fall, but as of now, there is still a lot to do to prepare and be ready for the students return.

“When we think about our planning for the fall, we want to make sure that we are ready for 5 days of in person instruction,” John Magas, Superintendent of Duluth Public Schools, said.

With the Delta variant looming, they are keeping that in mind as the start date approaches.

“It’s hard because we’re still 6 weeks away from school starting, so we kinda look at it like a lot could change,” Wayne Whitwam, Superintendent of Hermantown Community Schools, said.

District Leaders are also not only concerned about protocols, but the emotional health of their students too.

“But we also wanna make sure that we are thinking about our learners as they are coming back to us, and thinking about what are their social and emotional needs, what are their learning needs and how can we make sure that the schools are ready,” Magas said.

A couple ways Hermantown is going to keep the community notified is through an online portal.

“We’re going to run a dashboard that will say if we have a positive case that is in elementary, and it’s confirmed, we’re going to put it on our dashboard,” Whitwam said.

They hope for normal, in-person instruction, as well as a good schooling experience for the students that include normal athletics, and more time to interact with one another, face-to-face.

“The research shows, and people told us that distance learning wasn’t as effective as in-person learning,” Magas said.

If parents have concerns about their child, school leaders are encouraging the vaccine to those eligible to receive it.

Duluth schools also require students from two years old, to fifth grade to mask up, while it’s optional in Hermantown.

“Have your child wear a mask, because we’re going to teach, and we’re going to provide education whether your child’s wearing a mask or not,” Whitwam said.

Schools are ready for a quick pivot to online if necessary, but they are remaining optimistic for now.

More information will be coming out about the subject in the next few weeks.

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