Class dismissed

TRACY AREA PUBLIC SCHOOL’S SUPT. CHAD ANDERSON led a Monday morning meeting of all teachers and paraprofessionals concerning the future of the schools in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Photo / Per Peterson

Schools plan for the worst after governor shuts them down

School district continues to work on the fly in response to virus outbreak

By Per Peterson

It certainly wasn’t business as usual at Tracy Area High School on Monday morning, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of important business to take care of, with more to come, as District No. 2904 reacts in real time to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

TAHS Supt. Chad Anderson led a meeting of teachers, paraprofessionals and other school staff concerning the school’s reaction to the coronavirus outbreak and its ever-changing effects on every corner of the state, country and world.

“As we go through this, each and everyone of you will be doing things differently,” Anderson told school employees. “We all have to work together; we’re all in this together. These are uncharted waters, and we’re going to be doing some things differently. We’ll get through this.”

As an example of how fluid the issue is, Anderson noted that it was only a week after school officials were told by the Minnesota Department of Health that schools would not close — because people ages 19-and-under were not susceptible to coronavirus — that the governor officially closed all public schools.

“They’re doing this to slow the spread down, to stop it, as we move forward,” Anderson said.

Schools were mandated to close by Wednesday, March 18; TAHS decided not to wait that long and closed the doors on Monday, March 16. As of now, students will return to school on Monday, March 30. During the hiatus, school officials are tasked with creating their plans for distance learning if the shutdown extends beyond March.

“We are in a unique situation, because we just got out from spring break, where we had people going all over the place,” Anderson said. “What if one person somewhere came back and had the virus? We were not going to risk it. That’s why we decided not to have school (Monday and Tuesday).”

There will be no instructional time for students during this time; that includes Virtual Learning Days, making the time between now and March 30 an extended spring break.

“These days are done, they are forgiven — kids will not get an education the next 10 days,” said Anderson. “The kids are on an extended spring break.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.