“We’ve had a really good start,” said Superintendent Jeff Drake at Monday night’s school board meeting. The 2021-22 school year has officially begun and out of the approximately 3,000 staff and students, only two positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed this week. For those interested in tracking any spread within the school system, The Fergus Falls Public Schools Daily COVID-19 Report can be found on the district website. This helpful COVID-19 tracker is updated daily at 4 p.m. and lists confirmed cases by school building.
A new law has come into effect, impacting students with disabilities. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, schools will be required to “collaborate with families of students with disabilities to address the impact of disruptions to in-person instruction on students’ access to a free appropriate public education related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” This will mean that the school district will be required to invite the parents of a student with a disability to an Individualized Education Program team meeting to determine what services and supports are necessary to address any lack of educational progress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
School board member Melanie Cole says some of these “catch-up services” may not take effect until the summer of 2022, since students with disabilities are currently learning in-person with full course loads.
Cultural Competency Training will soon be available for teachers across the district. This training is required for teachers seeking to renew their licenses. According to the Minnesota Profesional Educator Licensing and Standards Board, this training deepens teachers understanding of their own potential bias and its impact on students, families and school communities, specifically in regards to “racial, cultural, and socioeconimic groups, American Indian and Alaskan Native students, religion, systemic rascism, gender identity including transgender students, sexual orientation, language diversity, individuals with disabilities and mental health concerns.”