As the COVID-19 cases for the school district have risen to the 20 cases per 10,000 people level Superintendent Mitch Anderson told the Perham-Dent School Board on Monday, Oct. 12, that the school will be staying in its current learning model for now.

The reason that the district is choosing to hold steady on its current learning model is to see if the new rise in local cases is a shorted lived blip or is an outbreak. Anderson said that the hold will be over the course of the next two weeks to determine if the district needs to change to an all-hybrid learning model.

Should the case numbers in the district keep rising, the learning model will be changed and could trigger essential child care and meals that could be picked up. The schools are preparing for this to happen but will not put these into practice until with the help of Otter Tail County Public Health the decision to change learning models is deemed a necessary course of action.

Currently, the district has 40 students out for either quarantine for those who have been exposed or isolation for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Other business discussed by the school board:

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  • Hybrid learning at the high school has been a success for some students and a struggle for others likely due to the lack of traditional support that students would get in the classroom. The high school will not be changing how hybrid learning works in the middle of the trimester but is considering options to help those struggling with the learning model to not fall behind.

  • Out of 19 applications Heart of the Lakes Elementary interviewed 12 people for the Heart of the Lakes Elementary secretary position. “We have a nice pool to pick from and we have a hard position to fill,” Principal Liz Johnson said. The position is open as the board has approved extended leave for Heart of the Lakes Elementary secretary Joan Fudge.

  • The schools’ new community relations director position has been filled by Jason Groth.

  • With the help of Cub Scout Pack 321, a memorial garden has been put up at Heart of the Lakes Elementary. The memorial is for a preschool student who was lost over the summer and will be dedicated in the spring.

  • The board approved the leasing of postage machines from Dakota mailing at all three schools.

  • The board approved the leasing of seven black and white photocopiers and one color copier from Marco. The approved lease is for five years and has the estimated monthly cost of $2,064.78.