Owatonna Public Schools will go through some changes over the next few months and next couple of years. Superintendent Jeff Elstad wrote in the May school newsletter, "I am hopeful that the past year will provide some lessons learned and we can not only bring back normal, but bring back better."

The district is launching Owatonna Online, a new virtual school for K-12, "The past year has taught us to further personalize learning for students. For some students, a fully online program is the best match for their needs," he says.

An official groundbreaking on the new Owatonna High School is Thursday, May 6 at 3:30 pm. The school is scheduled to open for fall 2023 at 1945 18th St SE. The news release from the district states, "The community of Owatonna showed their support for a new high school in a big way, with local businesses offering generous financial support...The tax impact for the Owatonna community was reduced by 20% thanks to the generosity of business donation from Federated Insurance, Mayo Clinic Health System, Viracon, Wenger Corporation, Wenger Foundation, and Gopher Sport."

See renderings of the new high school on the district's website.

At the April 26 school board meeting, Elstad recognized OHS Activities Director Marc Achterkirch and secretary Nancy Benson "for the organizational leadership this year in providing a safe and caring community for our students in high school activities during a pandemic."

The district announces that school board meetings will be held at the Small Group Forum at the high school beginning in May to allow for public attendance while meeting social distance requirements.

The next "Coffee and Conversation" with Elstad will be an in-person event at the district offices on Thursday, May 13 at 8:30 am. Reserve a spot to attend by 4 pm on Tuesday, May 11 by contacting shoffman@isd761.org or call 507-444-8610.

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Major Milestones From Beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota

News and information about the virus were slowly making their way through Minnesota and the Rochester area during late February 2020. Mayo Clinic became aware of the virus in January because of a partnership it had with a Chinese firm. This gave Mayo a head start in developing its own test for the virus which it knew would be needed for its patients.

Scroll through the gallery to see the significant milestones from the first two months of the pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota.


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