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Tracking COVID-19 Community Cases Is The Key, Says Hudson Superintendent, As Students Head Back To School

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - While most Minnesota students get back to some kind of school next week, Wisconsin returned to learning this week.

A Hudson school district has nearly 90% of their kids back in their buildings.

When we first checked in with Chase Hedlund in July, he wasn't sure if they'd be sending their second and third graders who both have asthma, back to their elementary school in Hudson this fall.

"Our big question was what's it going to be like from an experience stand point," Hedlund said.

One week in and that experience seems to be going even better than expected.

"We asked my daughter the other day what she felt about wearing her mask - was it just ok or difficult and she goes: well is easy an option?" Hedlund said.

This summer, the district rolled out its back-to-school blueprint.  Now, those plans are playing out in real life,  from one-way hallways at the high school to choir classes spread across and auditorium and plastic barriers in the lunchroom to allow for unmasking.

Superintendent Nick Ouellette says transparency in tracking COVID-19 cases in the community has been key.

"One thing that did help ease minds is we came out with our school closure matrix," Ouellette said.

That matrix lays out the positive cases in each school.  It indicates who quarantined prior to the start of the school year so there's no exposure. But, parents will see weekly what changes.

"Then, make a determination of what level we're in for each building. It's not a district-wide determination. It's by building," Ouellette said.

The Hedlunds feel good about the district's approach.  As do the other smiles spotted in Hudson that even masks couldn't hide.

"It was really great to have everybody back. We're just trying to keep it going as long as we can," Ouellette said optimistically.


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