On Monday Underwood Public Schools transitioned from Safe Learning Model 1 to Model 2, a hybrid learning model.
“We were very happy to have all of our preK-12 students start the school year in the in-person learning model. Having all of our students in the building for the first five weeks was vital in setting a positive tone for the entire school year. The requirements of the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan made switching to a 7-12 hybrid learning model unavoidable as the county and local numbers continue to rise. We are hoping we will get a chance to have all of our students back in the building again soon,” shared Underwood principal, Arick Follingstad.
As mentioned by Follingstad, Underwood began the school year in Safe Learning Model 1, which allowed all students to attend school in person. With additional safety precautions in place, such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and elevated hand washing, among other precautions, Underwood was able to keep all students on campus for the first five weeks of the school year.
“The Underwood School District strongly acknowledges that students learn better in person, especially if the learning environment is safe, welcoming and engaging,” states the school’s learning plan, which was shared with district families prior to the start of the school year. “Our Safe Learning Plan includes the following goals that are also part of the state’s plan: 1. Prioritize the safety of students and staff; 2. Prioritize in-person learning, especially for younger learners and students at-risk; 3. Consider infectiousness and transmission risk among different ages; 4. Support planning while permitting flexibility; and 5. Take into account disease prevalence at a local and county level.”
The Safe Learning Plan utilized by the school district consists of three models, in-person, hybrid, and distance learning. The school is now in a hybrid model, which keeps elementary students on campus five days a week. Grades 7-9 attend school in person Monday/Wednesday/Friday and grades 10-12 are present in school Tuesday/Thursday. Each weekday that students are off campus, they participate in online learning.
Underwood School plans to utilize the hybrid model through Oct. 30, with evaluations occurring weekly to ensure that they are operating within the appropriate learning model. Communication will remain open with families regarding changes to the learning model.