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Blue Earth Area students will return to school

BLUE EARTH — Blue Earth Area plans to transition to all in-school learning beginning Monday.

Superintendent Mandy Fletcher shared the news with the school board earlier this week.

Students in grades K-7 began their school year Thursday with in-person learning. However, students in grades 8-12 started in hybrid mode.

“Last Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health released their 14-day county case rate data,” Fletcher explained. “The data showed Faribault County had a rate of 13.67, which would support our decision to have the 8-12 kids in hybrid through the current week.”

She then described the process that was followed in making the decision to have the older kids return to in-person learning.

“Keep in mind there is a little bit of a lag time with the release of case rate data information,” she said. “The incident command team met last Friday afternoon and discussed more recent data. Since the time period when the last data was released, the number of cases in Faribault County have gone down significantly. Because of that, the county is predicted to be under 10 for our county case rate for the next two reporting periods. Given that information, the incident command team was all in agreement Blue Earth Area could open to all in-person learning for grades K-12 beginning Sept. 21.”

Fletcher also offered a report on the first week of school.

“The kids have been great,” she said. “They have been wonderful with mask compliance and very respectful. They are happy to be back in the building. The biggest issue we have had is with the hybrid scenario and the technology we use. Jen Berkner and her team have been great at troubleshooting any problems we have had and things should be operating smoother going forward.”

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