Board discusses options for opening schools

On Monday, Aug. 10, the Tri-City United School Board held a special meeting to discuss this fall’s schooling options regarding the current COVID crisis.

According to Super­intendent Lonnie Seifert, when the state released guidelines for districts last week, it gave schools some freedoms, mandates and recommendations. He acknowledged when the governor released guidelines (COVID case numbers per county), the first thought was hybrid for all grades.

However, he said after meeting with health officials, building administrators, and watching coronavirus case numbers, other scenarios developed.

Seifert’s discussion was held during the regular meeting, but it was not designed as an action item; instead it was designed as an informational gathering and opportunity for the board to discuss the current data, which, like everything during the pandemic, could easily change.

There are two options for the fall school year that are being considered by the board. Some grades will either attend school in-person, and other grades will have a hybrid of in-person and distance learning. Like, TCU schools across the state are trying to figure it out.

“What we’re trying to follow are possible models, but schools are all over the place,” he said.

As of last week, the postive COVID-19 cases for Le Sueur County dropped from 22.87 to 16.8, which would allow for elementary to be in-person and secondary using a hybrid model.

Some potential options the TCU transitional team talked about were PreK-12 all hybrid using “A” groups of students and “B” groups of students attending in-person on different days. However, Seifert said how the AB groups are determined are also up in the air.

“AB is a lot of different things. It could be AA on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday off, then BB comes in (person). It could be an ABAB with Friday off. It's a wide variety,” he said. “I know a district that is 7-12 hybrid with 7-9 grade in one week, and 10-12 in another week. That’s their AB.”

He said the team has also looked into a PreK-4 in-person and 5-8 hybrid, and PreK-6 in-person and 8-12 hybrid.

Read more in the print edition.

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