Owatonna Public Schools

Message from Superintendent Jeff Elstad

October 15, 2020 Update

In the October newsletter, I said that I would provide a monthly update on our COVID trends and learning model data, but I want to provide you with this mid-month report and let you know that you can find the COVID updates anytime on our COVID-19 Response website. I will provide another update in our November newsletter and then twice a month thereafter.


We have successfully completed the first seven weeks of school! Our staff worked hard to help us mitigate the pandemic while remaining focused on the important learning work for our students. Owatonna Public Schools remains in our current learning model for all elementary and secondary schools. This decision is based on several pieces of data, including the 14-day county infection rate averages distributed weekly by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). In addition, recommendations from Steele County Public Health are reviewed and considered.


Data reported today from the MDH shows cases in Steele County for the September 20 to October 3 time period at 18.48 cases per 10,000. For this past week, two positive cases were reported in the Owatonna Public Schools. So far, the cases that have been reported are not clustered into any one school or grade level. Social distancing, wearing face coverings/masks, washing hands and cleaning protocols have been important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Please check the ISD 761 COVID-19 Response website, which includes information regarding our safe learning plan. When a positive case is reported, families and staff are notified by the school district, MDH or both with information on next steps.


As Owatonna Public Schools continue to work to keep students in school, please continue to do everything you can to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community. We understand the difficulties it places on families when students can’t attend school, but it is very important that we continue working together to minimize the potential spread of the disease in school buildings.


Please keep children home:

  • when they are sick. If you’re not sure whether to send them or not, call the school nurse.
  • if they are being tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results.
  • if someone in your household is sick and is being tested for COVID-19.


Stay informed about current COVID-19 information:

Minnesota Department of Health Current Case Count