The Potluck

Shakopee schools to shut down due to COVID-19 outbreak

By: - November 18, 2021 6:17 pm

Photo courtesy of Shakopee Public Schools.

The Shakopee school district is closing all of its schools on Monday and Tuesday to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak, and will be off all week since the district was already scheduled to be off Wednesday through Friday for Thanksgiving.

In a statement released Thursday evening, district officials said they’ve had the most infections in the past three weeks since the beginning of the pandemic, and cases continue to rise in the Minneapolis suburb’s county, Scott County.

Minnesota is leading the country in the rate of new COVID-19 infections, despite the widespread availability of vaccines and a vaccination rate above the national average. Hospital critical care beds are full, and health officials have been sounding alarms for days. 

The Shakopee school district has no COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and requires masks when cases hit certain thresholds.  

District officials released a statement saying the cases are affecting student and staff attendance, and forced them to move three classrooms from in-person to distance learning, with a handful of other classrooms nearing that threshold.

“The district will continue to monitor the situation, and explore possible additional mitigation steps and school schedule adjustments,” the district statement said. “Our goal is to have some control over the situation and be proactive whenever possible.”

Amanda McKnight’s daughter Fiona, 8, is a third-grader at an elementary school in Shakopee and tested positive Wednesday night, a week after getting her first dose of a vaccine. 

“This is the first time we’ve been compromised through the whole pandemic,” McKnight said.

A couple of weeks ago, a class at Fiona’s school went virtual and ever since, more cases keep cropping up. McKnight was notified by the school that her daughter came in contact with infected students Monday and Tuesday.

“They’ve been getting infected like crazy,” she said. “It’s out of control.” 

So far, her daughter is feeling like she has a cold. She also was notified that a parent at the daycare where her 4-year-old son goes tested positive. He was born with a cleft lip and palate and doesn’t handle respiratory illness well, she said. 

Children aged 5 to 11 can now get the vaccine, but Monty’s not yet old enough, McKnight lamented.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs.