Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely schools busy despite closure order

Preparations underway for distance learning with extended shutdown

Keith Vandervort
Posted 3/26/20

ELY –As Ely students remained home this week due to the statewide school closure order, administration staff and teachers still reported to campus to meet several responsibilities.Gov. …

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Ely schools busy despite closure order

Preparations underway for distance learning with extended shutdown

Posted

ELY –As Ely students remained home this week due to the statewide school closure order, administration staff and teachers still reported to campus to meet several responsibilities.
Gov. Walz’s executive order closing schools in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus required schools to provide childcare for employees considered essential in the community, including healthcare workers, fire fighters, law enforcement personnel and others.
School staff provided the school-day supervision for dozens of children and divided them into small groups to participate in learning activities, exercise and gym class, and meals.
Meals were also provided by the district during the school closure period, free of charge, to those families that requested them.
Breakfast and lunch meals were combined and were available free of charge to all students who requested them.
ISD 696 assistant cook Sheila Angus and cafeteria aide Jane Hall were stationed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the front doors of the Memorial building to provide the meals to those who registered for meal pick up.
“We assembled 76 bags that contain both breakfast and lunch items, Hall said on Monday. “We have a crackers and egg package, orange juice, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grapes, broccoli, string cheese and two cartons of milk.”
School staff also used district vehicles to deliver meals to those households who couldn’t make it to town.
To order meals, please call 218 -365-1799.
ISD 696 Media Specialist Maddie Swenson was also busy this week despite the absence of students. On Monday, she spent time restocking, organizing and completing an inventory of media center materials.
“I am also here to assist teachers and staff with technology components and procedures as we prepare for a possible distance learning scenario,” she said.
Administration and staff are gathering information from families regarding their access to the Internet and other technology needs if and when an order is given to provide for off-campus learning for the final weeks of the school year, or longer.
The Ely area’s cable provider, Midco, has stepped up to help families in need of Internet access during the district’s transition to distance learning.
As part of that response, they are introducing a new package, called Midco Internet Basics, for low-income households with K-12 and/or college students who don’t have Internet access.
The program includes:
• An Education Assistance Credit that makes the service free through June 15, 2020.
• Speeds up to 25 megabytes per second (mbps) download and  standard or wireless modem included.
Qualified households can begin enrolling. Call 1-833-338-4638 and use reference special code, MIBEDU20, to receive the Education Assistance Credit.
Midco officials asked that only critical households and those in need of an internet connection take advantage of the program.

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