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St. James schools aim to return middle school/high school back to hybrid learning

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

At Monday's school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Steven Heil announced that a committee with Watonwan County Public Health and school officials were looking into the possibility of a return to hybrid learning for St. James Middle School/High School.

"The numbers have been good in the county for the last few weeks so we're exploring the possibility of moving from distance learning at the middle school/high school to hybrid learning," said Heil.

Heil said the committee would meet on Tuesday and Thursday once the official numbers are released for Watonwan County.

"We can look at them in the zip code so we can get a deeper look. Everybody is fairly confident right now that we'd be able to make that change."

"We're anticipating some good news hopefully by the end of the week."

Last week, Watonwan County was at a rate of 33.7 COVID-19 cases per 10,000. Heil anticipates that the county could be in the 20s for this week.

In an email on Tuesday following a meeting with Watonwan County, the regional support team and the Minnesota Department of Health, Heil hoped to return to hybrid learning on October 26th.

The district also provided an enrollment update. The current enrollment is 572 total students. 

"Right now we're holding real steady," said Heil.

Principals Karla Beck and Liam Dawson also shared reports for student achievement, support, communication and marketing, as well as teacher and student mental health.

Dr. Heil noted that as the weather gets colder, some students wait outside for meals, and said that the district was looking to acquire a 10-person bus to help drop off and deliver food to students who need it.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for November 9th. 

Other items:

Resolution for accepting of gifts:

- Jose and Telma Galdamez donated $200 for Save the Bell

- The Mayo Foundation donated $10,000 towards the MS/HS tennis court shading structure

- MASSP Star Innovation donation of $250 for 10th Grade Chef program

- Amos and Amanda Oh donation of $1,000 for 1:1 technology insurance

- Smithfield donated 2 cases of gloves for the nursing staff

Resignations/Retirements:

- Elaine Haler-Community Ed  

- Sharon Luther-Community Ed 

- Kathy Linn-Middle/High School Para 

- Lois Siem-Northside Para 

- Gina Wright-ECSE Para 

- Abby Bright-Community Ed Childcare