ISD 518 goes to full distance learning

WORTHINGTON. – Independent School District 518 of Worthington has shifted to all distance learning as of Monday due to Covid-19 cases.

According to ISD 518 Superintendent John Landgaard, the district has had to make a quick change to all distance learning due to Covid-19 exposures, which will be implemented on Monday.

“The staff has known that things may change quickly, and we’re just trying to assure we’re doing the right thing to keep everyone safe,” Landgaard said Friday afternoon. “We’re hoping it’s just a two-week bump in the road.”

Landgaard said there may be some elementary students that didn’t get all of their distance learning information because of the fast change, but it was necessary due to exposures in different places in the buildings. He reiterated that they hope this is a short-lived issue.

Elementary students were attending in-person class two days a week, and the higher grades were attending one day per week.

The target date to return to hybrid learning is October 5.

The message from the school reads as follows:

As information surrounding cases of COVID-19 in our district community continues to develop, Independent School District 518 administration must adapt to deliver a safe, effective, and equitable education for all students. Due to recent information received from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) on COVID-19 cases in the District 518 area, administration has made the decision to shift to a full distance learning model for all students.

All ISD 518 students will be educated using a full distance learning model beginning Monday, September 21st. This change will be implemented for a minimum of two weeks with a target return to hybrid learning date of October 5th. Expectations for students during full distance learning remain the same as they have been during distance learning days in the hybrid learning model. As with all COVID-19 related issues, this decision was made in consultation and cooperation with MDH.

The plan for educating students during the COVID-19 pandemic was created in such a way that health, safety, effectiveness, equity, and flexibility were prioritized. A possible shift to a distance learning model had been planned for and accommodated from the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Acknowledging that new information may arrive at any time, District 518 worked to be prepared for a possible necessary change in learning model. It is due to this extra planning by ISD 518 staff and administration that the fluid shift to a distance learning model is possible.

District 518 understands the critical role is plays in the community reaching beyond the education of students, from childcare, to food service, extra-curricular activities, counseling, and more. The district will continue to make these services available to the fullest extent of its ability while also prioritizing the health and safety of its students, staff, and the district community as a whole.

More information on how this affects services across the district will be released in upcoming days. Information on how District 518 will implement a full distance learning model are available on the COVID-19 information page of the district website.

Independent School District 518 administration would like to thank students, families, and community members for allowing the district to make this critical learning model change. Administration, in consultation with MDH, believes this change is necessary to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and district community.

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