In a unanimous vote, the Osakis School Board approved in-person learning for all students, which means kids will be heading back to school this fall. But for those who don’t feel comfortable sending their children back, there will be a distance learning model available.

School board member Mike Collins thanked all those involved in preparing the plans for the school district’s return this fall.

“You went above and beyond and as a board, we appreciate it,” said Collins. “I appreciate the willingness of the staff to get back in it for the benefit of the students and with that I make the motion to approve K-12 in-person instruction.”

Prior to it being approved, however, school board member Genny LeBrun said that as a person who hopes the governor will lift the mandate on masks, she asked if the plan could reflect that it is not certain if the school district would require masks or not.

Superintendent Randy Bergquist said for now the plan approved by the district will state that masks are required because it is a mandate. However, he said that if the mask mandate is lifted, then the plan will be updated to reflect those changes.

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Per the plan, the use of face coverings will be required by all persons in school buildings and buses, unless a certified medical exemption form is complete and provided to the district.

“Whether we like it or don’t like it and whether we agree or disagree, our school district has to follow the guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Education,” Bergquist said. “I don’t want Osakis School District in the media because we didn’t follow this or didn’t follow that.”

Prior to the board making its decision, Bergquist presented the seven-page “Return to School Framework” for the district, which included information on masks, the three different learning models (traditional, hybrid and distance learning), healthy and safety precautions and more.

As part of its continued efforts to gather information and keep the lines of communication open, the school district will be asking parents to fill out another survey. It will be emailed and the deadline to fill it out will be Thursday, Aug. 27.

Parents will be asked whether or not their child(ren) will be returning to school this fall or if they will be requesting full-time distance learning due to medical risks or safety concerns. And they will also be asked whether their child(ren) will be riding the bus.

As new information comes out, changes or modifications to the district’s plan may need to happen, but the district will make sure parents are updated.