by WAPS Superintendent Annette Freiheit
Dear WAPS families,
Gov. Tim Walz recently announced that all public and charter schools in Minnesota will remain in distance learning for the remainder of the school year. Students will not be returning to the school buildings until next fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All activities, events and facility rentals through the end of the school year are canceled or postponed. All school buildings and the district office will be closed through the remainder of the school year. The MSHSL has announced that the spring sports season is canceled, and refunds will be issued to those who have already signed up for spring activities.
Simply put, we are heartbroken. This was the right decision for the long-term health of our students, families and community. Although we are not surprised by the decision, we are deeply saddened by what it means for our Winhawk family.
For our class of 2020, we will celebrate your achievements. We do not know what graduation or other end-of-the-year ceremonies will look like, but rest assured, your accomplishments, your contributions and your successes will be celebrated by our entire community. We will figure out a way.
For our students involved in music, theater and athletics, we are sorry that we can’t watch you perform this spring. We know how hard you have been working, and how much you were looking forward to doing what you love in front of the people you love.
For Winhawks of all ages, while this announcement means we can’t be physically together, we will continue to support you in any way we can, be it as a mentor, as an advocate, as a cheerleader or just as a friend. We are always in your corner, whether that corner is in a classroom or in a Zoom meeting, in our school hallways or in a Schoology message.
WAPS will remain in distance learning until June 5. Please refer to the distance learning page on our website for more information, or contact your teacher or building principal if there are any needs you have at this time.
Friday, May 1, and Monday, May 4, have been designated by the Minnesota Department of Education as planning days for our teachers and no distance learning will take place on those days. We will follow our academic calendar for the remainder of the school year, which includes off days on Friday, May 22, and Monday, May 25.
During this time, we will continue to deliver free student meals to all students 18 and under, both at pre-determined sites and on bus routes throughout the district, including on May 1 and May 4. To sign up for meals or learn more information, visit https://www.winonaschools.org/district/distancelearning/free-student-meals. We will also continue to offer our emergency care program for children of emergency workers as defined by the state. To learn more about that program, visit https://www.winonaschools.org/news/details/~board/district-board/post/updated-school-age-child-care-request-for-emergency-workers.
Throughout this period of distance learning, we have remained committed to our vision, mission and core values. One of those core values is kindness, which we define as concern, compassion and advocacy for others. As you reflect on this announcement and what it means for your family, we ask that you practice kindness when possible. Extend it to your neighbors. To your family. To yourself. Please reach out to one of our school counselors if your family needs more assistance, or refer to this resource from the National Association of School Psychologists on helping children cope with changes from COVID-19.
We want to thank all members of our Winhawk family for their patience, understanding and flexibility during this unprecedented time. Please continue to stay safe, healthy and happy.