Editor's note: In a letter to parents and guardians on Tuesday, Dec. 1, New York Mills Superintendent Blaine Novak detailed the decision to extend distance learning for all K-12 students through December. The district hopes to return to in-person learning on Jan. 4. Christmas break is from Dec. 24-Jan. 3.

In the letter, Novak states:

The New York Mills Public School (K-12) will remain in Distance Learning throughout December. We recognize that the decision to remain in Distance Learning is a hardship for parents and students and we want to be transparent with all the factors that came in to this difficult decision.

As you probably know, Covid-19 cases continue to rise in our school and community. This factor weighed heavily into the recommendation. In addition, yesterday several New York Mills teaching staff members started quarantine or exclusion due to Covid exposure. With this number of individuals quarantined, the soonest we could bring students back would be the week of Dec. 14. Bringing students back into the building without these staff members is not feasible. Furthermore, bringing students back with just one week left of school before Christmas break seems unreasonable. For this reason, the Regional Response Team and Otter Tail County Public Health has supported the recommendation that Distance Learning is the most consistent and safest learning model at this time.

Our goal is that our families remain safe and healthy during this time. If anyone in your household experiences Covid symptoms, please continue to report the symptoms to Jodi Seelhammer (jseelhammer@nymills.k12.mn.us) so she can monitor the school’s cases.

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We recognize that Distance Learning is far from ideal. The NY Mills Public School remains determined to assist families during this time. Throughout December, our building will remain open for both one-on-one appointments with teachers/paraprofessionals, as well as for the School-Age Child Care Program. Please note that students that attend the School Age Child Care Program complete school work with the assistance of staff throughout the school day.

At the end of December, the Regional Response Team plans to meet in order to re-evaluate the situation. We plan to move to In Person Learning starting Jan. 4. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to NYM staff members with questions and concerns. Please note that Christmas break starts Dec. 24 and goes through Jan. 3.

Be Well, Everyone!

Blaine Novak, Superintendent

Contact information:

Superintendent: bnovak@nymills.k12.mn.us

Elementary Principal: jbrockway@nymills.k12.mn.us

High School Principal: myoung@nymills.k12.mn.us

For School Age Child Care: ddesautel@nymills.k12.mn.us

School Nurse: jseelhammer@nymills.k12.mn.us

Contact your child’s teacher(s) for appointments for one-on-one assistance. All email addresses can be found on our website on the staff directory.