Hybrid Model set to start again on Jan. 11


Valentina Contreras

OHS and OMS will return to the Hybrid Model on Jan.11, 2021, to finish semester one

Valentina Contreras, Writer

On Nov. 23 the Owatonna Public Schools’ school board decided they would extend distance learning until Jan. 8, for the hybrid model to start back up again on Jan. 11. With all the regulations put in place, Steele County has remotely improved and is now at 46.9 cases per 10,000 residents and can be expected to lower to 30 cases per 10,000 residents during the upcoming weeks. There will be no classes on Friday, Jan. 8 as it is a teacher work day for teachers to plan for students to go back to in-person learning. 

On Jan 4, Superintendent Jeff Elstad introduced during a school board meeting three different strategies to safely transition to an in-person model, these included: working with county and state officials to determine most appropriate learning model, communicating monthly status to both internal and external stakeholders to keep them informed of changes and planning for bi-monthly COVID-19 testing for staff and for vaccination clinics. Supt. Elstad also announced one of his future goals that he would like to develop is an online platform for K-5 learners, which will then be accessible to 6-12 learners, for the students that choose to continue participating on an online learning system. This would be after the pandemic is over. This would benefit the Owatonna Public Schools district because if a student wants to go full online they would stay in the system and be able to participate in all of the activities Owatonna Public Schools have to offer. 

On Monday, Jan. 11 and Tuesday, Jan 12 Group 1 students will return, Wednesday, Jan 13. will be a distance learning day for everyone and Group 2 will be returning on Thursday, Jan. 14 and Friday, Jan. 15. The end of the first semester will be on Friday, Jan. 15. and the second semester will start on Thursday, Jan. 21. Always Virtual students may visit the OHS building Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. for material drop off and pick up. 

As OHS staff prepares to welcome students back, Principal Kath said, “We are excited that as we see lower rates of COVID-19 in our community, that we will be back to in-person learning on January 11th.  We know that students need direct connection with teachers and their peers so we are happy to see that this will be our plan in January. We hope all community members will use caution and maintain health protocols so we can ensure a transition to in-person learning on the 11th.” 

Most students are excited to be able to connect with their teachers and go back to in-person school. Sophomore Samantha Liebl agrees with the district switching to a hybrid model again. Liebl said, “I feel like with everything the school is doing to keep everything clean, going back is completely okay.”

On Jan. 21 the second semester will be starting for Group 2. Sports returned to practice on Jan. 4 and games will resume on Jan. 14. It still remains important during this time to follow guidelines, report COVID-19 cases to OHS Administration and especially socially distance.