28% of ISD 704 parents wary of sending kids back to school

By Josie Maahs

“Approximately 28% of respondents to a survey sent to Proctor school district parents said they are still unsure if they will be comfortable sending their children back to school. Approximately 3% of respondents said they are not going to be sending their children back to school in the fall if there is not a vaccine for COVID-19.”

Parents in the district were asked to complete a survey earlier this summer. The figures sent to homes were later removed

The results of this district-wide survey give a glimpse of what student numbers may look like in the fall. According to the Proctor High School May Enrollment Statistics, there were 1,782 K-12 students last year. If the percentages hold true, we could expect about 53 students to be pulled from school, with 498 students unsure if they’re going to return.

The Proctor school district has been setting the stage for the fall opening.

Classrooms, Hallways, Lunchrooms, will all look different at Proctor come September of 2020. Proctor High, like many schools across the state, has been planning for three scenarios.

The Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education have instructed schools to plan for; returning all students while following current guidelines, implementing a hybrid model combining in person and at home learning, and distance learning. All three of these scenarios are being taken seriously in order to be prepared for how COVID-19 changes over the school year.

The in-person learning would take place if COVID-19 case numbers continue to stabilize or fall. Schools would create as much space between students and teachers as possible. They will not be forced to stay 6-feet apart during primary instructional time in the classroom.

The hybrid model would be implemented if COVID-19 cases increase in the school, region, or state. Schools would have to limit the number of people in school buildings and transportation to 50% of the maximum occupancy. Social distancing would be enforced at all times, and on days where students learn from home there must be a way to deliver school materials, and meals to kids who need them.

The distance learning only model would look like how it did in the spring. It would only be used if COVID-19 cases got significantly worse. Schools would be continuing to provide critical services like meals.

The update also gave a timeline for when the decision making processes would be happening.

  • July 1-16 = School District Administration will be using MDH and MDE guidance to complete the three scenario planning templates.
  • July 20-24 = School District Administration will work with Faculty, Staff, Student, and Parent focus groups to get feedback and input on the plans for each scenario.
  • July 27-31 = Governor Tim Walz is expected to announce which of the three scenarios our school will be starting with this Fall. Feedback and input provided by focus groups will be added to plans and cleaned up.
  • August 3-31 = Final detail planning to the scenarios will be conducted and implementation will be planned out. Communication with all stakeholders will take place many times and in many ways.

Many things will be different next year, including a 15-minute shorter school day. The start and end times at the High School will be changing. Instead of starting at 8:00 a.m, the school day will begin at 7:45 a.m, and end at 2:30 p.m instead of 3:00 p.m.

As things continue to fluctuate it’s important to remember that change is only temporary. Times like this are going to be tough on kids, parents, and staff. Surveys and numbers only tell part of the story. The truth is that no one really knows what September will bring. We just need to be ready for anything.


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