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Bill Ihrke

When it comes to personal sanitation during a pandemic, the staff at Kasson-Mantorville Public Schools aren’t taking any chances. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the local school district issued a nine-page document on its website, filled with information related to the ongoing situation.

“The District also is mandating that all hand sanitizer is at least 60 percent alcohol, and we are encouraging students and staff to utilize it,” the district’s document said.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Sunday, closing schools across the board starting Wednesday. Districts were directed to prepare for the possibility that students will have to learn remotely if the pandemic should get worse by the end of spring break.

Even before the governor’s decision, however, districts were beginning to inform students and families about what the situation includes and how it will impact the daily school routine.

The Dover-Eyota School District issued a statement, letting area families know that Spectrum and Comcast are offering free WiFi to low-income families for two months during the closure of Minnesota schools. The district also provided information about where people can donate used laptops and iPads for students in the event they do have to learn remotely.

Stewartville Public Schools has a website dedicated toward its COVID-19 response plan, with sections dedicated to school closing information, district services, and contact information for school counselors and social workers, in case parents need help talking to their children about what’s happening.

The Stewartville website also makes a point of saying that the Internet is available from the parking lot of all the district's schools and that it can be accessed from outside the buildings.

Similar to Stewartville, Byron Public Schools has a website devoted to its COVID-19 response plan. It has general  information about COVID-19 and information for teachers and staff about working during a school closure, among many other topics.

Plainview-Elgin-Millville Community Schools decided to close a day ahead of the statewide closure. Superintendent Bill Ihrke sent a notice to the district’s families that included information on a number of items, including that school meals will still be available to students who need them.

Ihrke also asked students to clean out both their desks and lockers before leaving because the district staff intends to do a “deep cleaning.”

“Our educators will be giving thoughtful planning to our distance learning plan, offering careful consideration for students in a variety of areas, including students receiving special education services, multilingual learners, students experiencing homelessness, and students who rely on meals served at school,” Ihrke said in the statement to the district’s families.

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