By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
Sunday morning, March 15, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that all Minnesota K-12 schools will be closed from March 18-27 in order for teachers to prepare for distance learning. It is anticipated that this distance learning could be for some time beyond March 27. No one can know, yet.
Both Eden Valley-Watkins and Kimball Schools (as well as parochial schools in the area) have held special board meetings and by now meetings with teachers and staff on how to proceed.
All schools have been ordered to provide lunches to any students who need them. They also are to provide daycare for the elementary-age children of healthcare and emergency workers. These details are still being worked out.
Teachers and staff are to work throughout the coming days and weeks, and will continue to be paid. There will be no spring sports until at least March 30, and no competition until at least
From Nancy Bonnifield, KAHS Principal:
Nobody, including songwriter Bob Dylan, had ever heard about Distance Learning when the lyrics were penned for “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” We find ourselves in a period of great change in education, especially since Gov. Walz announced that all schools are to prepare to provide Distance Learning after March 30. At Kimball Schools, the work has begun.
Distance Learning is providing students with access to appropriate educational materials and ensuring they receive daily interaction with their licensed teacher(s). E-learning, or learning via an internet-enabled device, is one method of delivery. However, Distance Learning and e-learning are not the same. Kimball Schools will be providing Distance Learning to all students and e-learning will be used when age appropriate.
By March 27, Kimball Schools will have a Distance Learning plan posted on the district website (www.kimball.k12.mn.us). Additionally, families will be surveyed regarding their household wi-fi, whether they need help locating resources related to wi-fi, computer access, and if the family needs to use a district Chromebook for Distance Learning.
The Governor has also charged school districts to provide meals for all children, under the age of 18, who need them. In Kimball, this means that students will receive a meal, dropped off between 10 a.m.-1 p.m., each weekday. The meal will include breakfast and lunch and will be paid for using the student’s lunch account. District staff and bus drivers from Hendricks Bus Service will be using both district vehicles and Hendricks buses to deliver the meals.
Lastly, emergency school age care (age 3 through 5th grade) will only be provided to families of emergency workers critical to the State’s response to COVID-19. Emergency workers wishing to utilize emergency school age care, beginning March 18, must provide employment verification, which may include a letter from their employer or an employment badge. Contact Holly Guerin with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (320) 398-7700 ext. 2555.
Another Bob Dylan song, “One More Cup of Coffee” may be more appropriate for these tumultuous days as we prepare to educate our students in a whole new way. If you wish to donate, coffee may be dropped off at the High School Office, Door 3.
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At Eden Valley-Watkins, classes were held Monday, March 16. Although EV-W has had an e-learning plan in place for more than a year (for snow days), it has not yet been needed. And these plans are for a day or two of instruction. They also will use the full eight days to prepare teachers and staff for the coming challenges.
Both schools are following the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Education and, no matter what, instruction will continue through the rest of this school year.