SARTELL -- Themes and concepts are starting to materialize as the Educational Equity and Student Experience Committee continues to break down the key topics facing students in the Sartell-St. Stephen school district.

Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover says the committee has focused on ten core topics and really narrowed downed what they view as the most important areas to work on.

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He says the committee has been making some great strides.

Within the next few weeks or month, we're going to be looking at these topics and finding out what really stands out for us and how they get incorporated into our school day. It's really nice that we are talking about those things.

Ridlehoover says the respect and ability to come with an open mind has really benefited the group as they continue to strive for a better culture for students.

The committee's next community listening session will take place on Monday at 4:15 p.m. inside Sartell High School.

Ridlehoover says from a classroom standpoint, he's proud of his staff for embracing the challenges the pandemic has created this year, while making sure the overall student experience doesn't suffer.

He says they've been grateful they haven't had a large COVID outbreak throughout their buildings so students can remain in the classroom.

Ridlehoover says with the CDC's announcement that 5 to 11 year-olds are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, they have had preliminary discussions about possibly modifying their safe learning plan.

There has been a drop in positive case counts within our schools. The community case count is still high, but we are happy where we are at within our schools. That has caused the board to reassess and reevaluate if we want to look at things differently as the school year continues.

According to the district's COVID-19 dashboard, as of last Thursday, only 30 students and 4 staff members have tested positive for the virus.

The district's COVID dashboard is updated every Thursday.


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