Owatonna Superintendent Jeff Elstad joined KRFO radio Wednesday, the first day of the state-mandated, statewide school closure. Teachers are preparing for distance learning, which is tentatively schedule to begin March 30. The school closure order from Governor Walz is currently set to end on March 27, leaving Elstad and others to wonder what the future holds.

Following are excerpts of a few of the questions from the interview. Hear the full interview below.

KRFO: What's going on now for teachers? 

Elstad: We've got lots of planning taking place right now. We're kind of taking one day at a time. This is certainly unprecedented. We haven't done a lot of these things before. I give a lot of credit to our staff that has really risen to the occasion.

KRFO: What is 'distance learning?'

Elstad: It's been happening for quite a while, particularly at the college level, where they have been doing a lot more virtual learning...One of the things we are going to be very clear about is distance learning is not always technology learning, however. There are going to be cases particularly in our elementary schools. There will be some activities that will be sent out to parents.

Elstad says the schools handed out approximately 1,500 devices on Monday to students that need one.

KRFO: What happens during spring break?

Elstad: Contractually our staff has the week off. But here's what I'm seeing more of. Our staff being part of a school system is not an 8 to 4  or typical job. It's a job where you are kind of doing things 365 days of the year. I fully expect that though they are on break, our teachers and support staff will be engaged in learning.

Elstad also said that childcare began this week for approximately 30 children whose parents or caregivers work in the healthcare or qualifying field. Food service also began Wednesday. Review the full details here.


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