The importance of transition days


Designed by Preston Meier

Two transition days are required by the Minnesota Department of Health when switching learning models

Preston Meier, Writer

With the news of Owatonna Public Schools moving to four days of in-person learning for grades sixth-12 on March 30, preparation is important to continue this school year safely. In order to prepare for more students being inside OHS, there will be two transition days on March 18 and March 29. Having two transition days is a requirement made by the Minnesota Department of Health when switching from different learning models.

These transition days are used for teachers to prepare and adjust their curriculum and for staff to make needed changes throughout the school. Principal Mr. Kory Kath said, “The biggest thing for teachers during transition days is to make sure that the scope and the sequence of their curriculum and what it is they’re teaching now is aligned, because we’re changing the way that we bring information to students.” The teachers’ main focus for the two transition days will be developing a new learning plan to benefit the new learning schedule while also developing a plan to give distance learners the same opportunities to learn.

For hands on and computer software classes, transitioning to all virtual learning was a struggle because of the need for the materials supplied in class. This time around, the teachers of those classes find it will be an easier transition going to in-person learning. Mr. Scott Seykora, who teaches computer design classes, said, “It was a big learning curve to find a platform that worked online and was meaningful for the students. Photoshop is a downloaded program and students could not use it on the Chromebooks, so we had a different program we used. Going from virtual back to in-person will be a little easier transition for teaching content then it was to go all virtual.”

The biggest thing to coming back to school safely is allowing teachers time to rearrange their rooms to try and get as much spacing between students as physically possible.

— Mr. Scott Seykora

The staff of OHS will also have to change the layout of furniture in the building over the transition days. One of these changes will include the seating arrangements for breakfast and lunch times. The lunch room is an area that will see lots of shifting around because more students will be in there, but they still have to be distant. Mr. Kath said, “In the lunch rooms, you are going to see added chairs at tables, but they’ll still be limited so we can try to maintain that three feet as much as possible.” Having proper seating arrangements and maintaining a three foot distance is going to help the transition back to school happen smoothly. 

Teachers will also be working hard to create a proper seating arrangement in their classrooms based off of the number of students they have in each class. Mr. Seykora said, “The biggest thing to coming back to school safely is allowing teachers time to rearrange their rooms to try and get as much spacing between students as physically possible.” The teachers will have to shift things around in their classrooms to be able to meet the state requirements for distance between students, which has been changed from six feet to three feet of distance between students.

Transition days are an important part for preparing for a new learning model. The purpose of having transition days is to give staff time to restructure their teaching curriculum and classroom in order to bring students back to a safe and proper learning environment.  OHS will start all in-person instruction on Tuesday, March 30.