Owatonna Public Schools

District News Special Issue

March 20, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Dear Owatonna Public Schools Community,

The past week has been unlike any most of us have ever seen in Minnesota due to the global pandemic COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). In recent days, our school district staff has been called upon to serve our community in ways we’ve never before imagined.

By order of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, large group activities have been canceled, schools have been closed through March 27, 2020 in order to prepare for a prolonged school closure, all bars and restaurants are closed until further notice, and all residents have been asked to “socially distance” themselves from others by staying home or remaining at least 6 feet apart when out in public.

Through all of this, the staff throughout our school district has been working diligently to follow Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education guidelines to provide the safest environments possible for our students, staff and families.

A quick update on some of what the amazing and hard-working Owatonna Public Schools staff has accomplished in less than a week:

  • Distance learning plans have been developed for all students - grades pre-kindergarten through 12 - in the event of continued school closure. These plans include online and other learning activities, contact with teachers and much more. More information will be coming next week regarding this topic.

  • Chromebooks were distributed to all students/families in grades K-12 who needed one for distance learning.

  • Lunches and breakfasts have been provided for any child 18 or younger in the district from March 18-20. Next week, March 23-27, lunches will not be provided to students due to the scheduled spring break. Starting March 30, if distance learning begins, this service will continue. More information to come.

  • Free child care will continue to be provided at McKinley Elementary for parents who are healthcare workers and emergency staff that are required to report to work. Please call 507-444-7900 if you have questions regarding eligibility or registration for child care.

  • Custodial and maintenance staff have been going over and above to make sure buildings are cleaned and sanitized frequently during the day.

Even though our schools are on spring break March 23-27, more planning will be underway to prepare for the possibility of distance learning. All are stepping up to respond to the Governor’s orders.

The entire Owatonna community can help by following these guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve – not in your hands

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Stay home if you are ill

  • Practice “social distancing” by staying at least 6 feet away from people if you need to go out in public

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Thank you for your understanding, patience, support, and forgiveness during this rapidly changing pandemic health crisis. The safety and support of our students, families, staff, and communities are our top priority. Ongoing updates are available on our website, with special communication directly to parents and staff as needed.

I am so proud of this team and this community. Together, we are #OwatonnaProud.

Jeff Elstad, Superintendent


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