COVID-19 Information & Updates
Mankato Area Public Schools' Update
September 17, 2020
After a thorough review of the latest community 14-day COVID-19 case rate numbers, Mankato Area Public Schools (MAPS), in partnership with the Regional Support Team and the MAPS COVID-19 Command Team, has determined to continue with the hybrid learning model for elementary and secondary students.
Below are answers to frequently asked questions to help explain how this decision was made.
Q. The Minnesota Department of Health chart shows that based on infection rates, Blue Earth County school districts should be in distance learning. Why isn’t MAPS moving to distance learning?
A. Our top priority remains keeping students and staff safe. The chart provided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is a guide, not the sole determining factor. Other factors come into play, including current infection rates in the county, local communities and school district (students and staff). The decision to continue with the hybrid learning model is based on all of these data points.
The MDH chart (updated each Thursday) reflects the 14-day average from two weeks ago. The numbers on today’s chart includes Blue Earth County data from August 23 to September 5 (before the school year started).
County, community and school district infection rates since the start of the school year (the week of September 7), are much lower than previous numbers and rates reflected in the
MDH chart are expected to decline beginning next week. The surge of case numbers in the data shared over the last two weeks is due to the return of college students to the area as well as the recent testing event that took place.
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Infectious Disease Expert Kris Ehresman has been in close contact with MAPS. Ehresman has noted that the cases per ten thousand numbers are designed to be a starting point for the conversation.
In an interview Ehresman stated, “We’re looking at what’s happening in the community as well as the school level. But we also need to take into account what may be driving any increases.”
Q. Who is involved in determining whether or not the MAPS learning model changes?
A. School district leaders, the Regional Support Team and the MAPS COVID-19 Command Team help evaluate and determine the learning model that will be used. The teams are made up of professionals from the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education, South Central Service Cooperative and local public health officials (including Blue Earth and Nicollet counties, Mayo Clinic Health System and Mankato Clinic).
Q. How and when are learning models determined?
A. Teaching models are determined based on multiple data points. The Regional Support Team and MAPS COVID-19 Command Team meet every Thursday to review current county, community and school district data. Learning model decisions are data-driven and made in collaboration with our public health partners.
Q. How can I stay informed about COVID-19 and Mankato Area Public Schools?
For questions or more information contact staff at 507-387-1868.