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BEA Schools back to hybrid … for a while

By Staff | Oct 18, 2020

Blue Earth Area superintendent Mandy Fletcher notified district families via email all students in grades K-12 would be in a hybrid learning model beginning Monday, Oct. 19.

The email, dated Oct. 13, said the Incident Command Team had held a meeting to discuss the rising case numbers for both BEA and Faribault County.

“The discussion was lengthy and difficult as we try to find a way to balance the rising cases of COVID-19 in the county and BEA, but also keep as many students as possible in our buildings safely learning,” Fletcher stated.

Fletcher explained the Faribault County case rate, to be released on Oct. 15, will be in the mid-20s.

“Since the beginning of October, Faribault County has had 29 positive cases,” she said. “And 23 of those are in western Faribault County. Seven of those cases are from BEA students and/or staff. Next week we will have 41 students on mandatory quarantine due to close contact with a positive case (per Minnesota Department of Health guidelines).

Students in grades 6-12 at BEA had moved to distance learning for Oct. 12 and 13. That decision was made as part of a proactive approach in dealing with three confirmed positive COVID-19 cases at BEA schools. Students in grades K-5 were in school but followed the hybrid guidelines.

Fletcher had addressed district residents earlier in a video on the district’s Facebook page which was released on Friday, Oct.9.

“We monitor the number of positive COVID-19 cases very closely in Faribault County,” Fletcher explained in the video. “We also work with local public health officials and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), who are able to do accurate contract tracing and isolate those individuals in a timely matter.”

Fletcher then explained that as of Oct. 9, there were three active cases in the school.

“Working with local health officials and MDH, we were able to notify individuals who were in close contact with those positive cases,” Fletcher said. “I want to commend the individuals and their families who, once experiencing symptoms, did everything correctly. They went home, got tested and communicated with the necessary individuals to help complete contract tracing.”

Tennis, cross country and football teams have not been affected thus far but the volleyball team has had to cancel or reschedule some of their games.

Fletcher also took time to thank the BEA staff, School Board members, Community Health and Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties, the student body representative on the Incident Command Team and United Hospital District for coming together and making the best decision for the students and staff at BEA.

BEA continues to work closely with MDH to monitor the situation.