Six students and one staff member at Osakis School District have tested positive for COVID as of Sept. 15.

Additionally, four elementary students and three secondary students have been quarantined.

This information was provided on the district's online COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated daily by the school nurse.

At the regular Osakis School Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 13, Superintendent Randy Bergquist said he is keeping abreast of the latest developments each day.

"Do I feel horrible about it? Absolutely," Bergquist said. "I feel horrible if somebody gets COVID, if they get cancer, any kind of sickness I'm going to feel horrible."

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Randy Bergquist
Randy Bergquist

Bergquist added that he will continue to do video updates each Thursday that will give the latest information about the issue.

"I'm trying to be transparent so people know what's going on," he said.

The Osakis School District is not mandating masks for students and staff, although they can wear them if they choose to.

Bergquist said he has not heard of any mask-shaming by anybody.

"One way or another … that will not be tolerated," he said.

MCA results

The school board also heard information on the latest Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results.

Elementary principal Shad Schmidt said proficiency in reading and math for third- through sixth-graders, and science for fifth-graders, was up in most cases from 2019, the last year the test was taken.

One of the only exceptions was in fourth-grade math, which saw a drop from 70.3% proficiency to 61%. The state average for all grades is 44.2%.

Schmidt said through targeted services and extra paraprofessional support, he hopes the score can be raised.

"Also through title funding we're able to get a supplemental math called Reflex Math that we can utilize. All those things should help, but there's other areas, too, that we need to focus on," Schmidt said.

For the high school students there was a 10% decrease in math proficiency from 2019 to 2021, although the school is still above the stage average by 13.5%. Additionally, the high school's reading proficiency declined 21%, putting it below the state average by 9%.

"We've been working closely at breaking this data down and working with the behavioral strategist and our academic strategist to develop a program to help those students who fell off," said high school principal Brad Hoffarth.

Bergquist said that he was satisfied overall with how the students did.

"There might be a couple areas that dipped a little bit, but overall, I'm pleasantly surprised on how well Osakis did," he said. "Nice job to the teachers and the students and their parents."

Bergquist added that the MCA is more of a "snapshot of a particular day for that student," and if the student is having a bad day, he or she might not do well on the test.

"I think there were more important things to worry about this last spring than MCA testing, especially during the pandemic," he said.