Minnesota students will be able to return to classrooms this fall, if districts deem it best based on local data, under Gov. Tim Walz's Safe Learning Plan that was announced Thursday, July 30.

The Perham-Dent School Board will be meeting to review all of the district's plans in a special board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to Superintendent Mitch Anderson. He said, "Formal approval for the opening of school will take place at the regular meeting on the 12th."

All public school districts in Minnesota have been required to have three different plans in place, and to be prepared to change between plans, for the 2020-21 school year. The required three plans are scenario 1 will be holding in-person school with social distancing in place, scenario 2 will be hybrid learning with a rotation of 50% of students being learning in-person and the others doing distance learning, scenario 3 will be distance learning similar to what was done in the spring but with some improvements.

"Communities with low positive COVID-19 testing rates, less than nine per 10,000 people, over the past 14 days will be able to start school in person, provided they incorporate the necessary health and safety precautions and their plan is approved by the local School Board," Anderson said in a news release. "The current rate for the past 14 days for Otter Tail County is below the threshold of nine new cases per 10,000. Keep in mind if our area sees a surge in COVID-19 cases, we will have to switch to a hybrid-learning or distance-learning model. "

Learning Model Parameters:

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0-9In-person learning for all students
10-19In-person learning for elementary students; hybrid learning for secondary
20-29Hybrid learning for all students
30-49Hybrid learning for elementary students distance learning for secondary students
50+Distance learning for all students



According to Anderson, families can choose the distance learning model through Perham-Dent Public Schools for their child/children for all, or part, of the 2020-2021 school year. He said, those wishing to choose this option need to connect the office of the appropriate school.

"Over the next few weeks, we will continue to work on our plans to reopen our schools that includes all of the required safety measures for each option including daily health screenings for all students and staff, social distancing markings on floors for students and staff, no large group gatherings, keeping students in small groups as much as possible, hand sanitizer available throughout the school and in all classrooms, increased cleaning protocols, face coverings for all students and staff and limited outside visitors to the school." Anderson said. "Thanks to all of you that completed the district survey sent out a couple of weeks ago. Data from that survey has proven very beneficial as we continue to "fine-tune" the different learning models in preparation for the school year. It is important to understand that we could experience a very "fluid" calendar as we monitor and adapt our models based on our local and county COVID-19 situation. We also understand the frustration that we all may encounter in the event we have to switch models with short notice. Please take the time to prepare and explore measures you'll need to take for disruptions with transportation, daycare, work schedules, etc."