I’m hopeful this message finds you doing well, maintaining good health and enjoying some pre-holiday festivities. I’d like to take a moment to provide some timely updates involving Perham-Dent Public Schools. We have decided to implement a virtual learning day on Friday, Dec. 3. The day will have staff on site, but students receiving virtual lessons from home.

Superintendent Mitch Anderson
Superintendent Mitch Anderson(Courtesy photo)

There are several reasons for implementing a virtual learning day. Our top goal is to continue to provide in-person learning in all three of our school buildings as we continue to monitor data and adjust strategies and procedures to negate COVID-19 impacts on our staff, students and families. Please recognize the daily sacrifices made in providing quality instruction while we battle this pandemic and experience increased absences in our personnel.

As is the case in much of the country, we have been short-handed in many positions across the district. Many of our staff have taken on additional duties, given up their own prep time to sub and combined classes to maintain in-person learning. Our communities are blessed to have such an amazing staff working in the Perham-Dent School District, shaping and nurturing the next generation.

The rise in staff absences has raised concerns with increasing workloads for remaining personnel in each building, and this leads to fatigue. Our ability to prolong in-person learning requires us to hire additional personnel, provide time for cross-training staff and provide staff with uninterrupted time to prepare their lessons rather than subbing for an absent colleague. For those reasons, Dec. 3 will be a virtual learning day for our school district.

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The following plan will enhance our existing mitigation strategies, and provide short-term relief to deficits in the workforce and the impacts of COVID-19-related absences in our buildings.

As you read this, please consider working for the district if your schedule allows. If you have interest in becoming a substitute teacher or paraprofessional with the district, please inquire with the administrative assistants at each building for openings and more information.

A plan for breakfast/lunch distribution will be announced at a later date. Additional details will be provided at the building level.

Mitch Anderson is the Perham-Dent Schools Superintendent.