A return to in-person and hybrid learning

This is a message sent from WAPS Superintendent Dr. Annette K. Freiheit to all families regarding the district's return to in-person and hybrid learning. It was sent on the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.


Hello families,

We are delighted to announce our gradual return to hybrid or in-person learning. This timeline was developed in accordance with the Minnesota Department of Education Safe Learning Plan, as well as Executive Order 20-103.

More information can be found on our WAPS Safe Learning Plan website.

Although the new state guidance puts a priority on in-person learning, we need to do so in a manner that takes into account multiple needs — starting with the health and safety of our students, staff and community. We also need to make sure our teachers have the planning time necessary.

  • We are in the process of updating our health and safety protocols to adhere to the new guidance, however we wanted to share a few things with you:
  • All staff members will be required to wear a face shield in addition to a mask. 
  • Each room with students in Washington-Kosciusko and Jefferson will have a localized room air purifier. In addition, the district has purchased a UV sterilizer disinfection unit. These items will be used in addition to the standard process of cleaning the rooms.
  • Staff will have the option to be tested for COVID-19 every other week. Details on the testing program will be provided in the near future. Families who want their students to be tested are encouraged to use the free testing site at the Winona Mall or request an at-home saliva test from the state.
  • Students at all grade levels will continue to have the choice to opt-in to distance learning only if they so choose.
  • Additional guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health is available here

Below is our timeline for a return to in-person learning. Please note that these plans are subject to change based on guidance from local public health officials.

Winona Area Public Schools Return to Campus Timeline

Early Childhood 
(Community Kids Preschool, Early Childhood Special Education,
ECFE, Early Childhood Screening)
 
  • December 23: Instructional planning day, no instruction
  • January 4: In-person/hybrid learning returns
Elementary Schools
(Goodview, Jefferson,
Washington-Kosciusko)
Grades K-1
  • January 4-6: Distance learning 
  • January 7-8: Instructional planning days, no instruction
  • January 11: In-person learning begins
Grades 2-4
  • January 4-21: Distance learning 
  • January 25-26: Instructional planning days, no instruction
  • January 27: In-person learning begins
Winona Middle School Grade 5
  • January 4-6: Distance learning 
  • January 7-8: Instructional planning days, no instruction
  • January 11: In-person learning begins
Grade 6-8
  • January 4-21: Distance learning
  • January 25-26: Instructional planning days, no instruction 
  • January 27: Hybrid distance learning Wednesday
  • January 28: Hybrid learning begins
Winona Area Learning Center
  • January 4-6: Distance learning
  • January 7-8: Instructional planning days, no instruction
  • January 11: Hybrid learning begins
Winona Senior High School
  • January 4-21: Distance learning
  • January 11: Distance learning plan change to four days per week of instruction from two days
  • January 25-26: Instructional planning days, no instruction
  • January 27: Hybrid distance learning Wednesday
  • January 28: Hybrid learning begins

We will continue to follow the 2020-21 school calendar, which includes no school days on Monday, Jan. 18 and Friday, Jan. 22.

As a reminder, an in-person learning model means there is in-person instruction five days a week for all students. A hybrid learning model means students have in-person instruction two days a week in their hybrid groups. Note: Special Education case managers and EL teachers will be contacting families to let them know their options for additional instructional services.

In order for hybrid learning to happen in Grades 6-12, the Winona County 14-day positive case rate needs to be below 30 per 10,000 residents. Our internal tracking, as of Dec. 18, has this number at around 70-75, which is a considerable drop from the 140-150 range in mid-November. 

We know that this is a lot of information to absorb during a time of year when there are other things on our mind, and that this may create some challenges for families with students in different grade levels and in different buildings. Our goal from the beginning of the school year was to provide as many in-person instruction days as possible while adhering to guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education. The latest guidance is a considerable shift in a number of areas from what we have been doing since the start of the school year, so we will continue to ask for your patience as we work together to navigate these issues. We know that this may be confusing, so please reach out to anyone — your teacher, your principal, any WAPS staff member — with questions or concerns. We won’t have answers to all of your questions right away, but we are working toward them. 

This plan, as with everything about our lives for the last nine months, is dependent on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our community. Please continue to follow the health and safety protocols. Wear a mask. Limit exposure to others. Stay home when you are sick. 

Laughter, learning and love will soon fill our school buildings once again. We can’t wait.

Thank you,
Dr. Annette K. Frieheit
Superintendent
Winona Area Public Schools