Update from Ely Public Schools Superintendent Erik Erie

A great deal of progress has been made on the 21st Century Learning Facilities Project. Buildings have been removed and footings are going in for the new building. Some renovations to the existing buildings are also underway so that we can use those spaces when school opens this fall.
Some of those classroom spaces will be temporary as we manage through this building project. In the end, we will have a 21st Century Learning environment to educate our students, thanks to the community that has supported this project with their tax dollars. Some of our district residents may qualify for a property tax refund, so I encourage you to got to the Minnesota Department of Revenue site:
https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/property-tax-refund
and download form M1PR to apply. You can view the construction progress on our Facebook page (Ely Public School District 696) or link to the Kraus Anderson Spark page through our website ely.k12.mn.us and look for the scrolling picture with the caption “Under Construction.” The Spark page can also be accessed directly using: https://spark.adobe.com/page/DNNlwZVhgCXxs/
As we make preparations for the upcoming school year, we are having to factor in not only the construction project but also the lingering affect of Covid-19 and the variants that are increasing case rates.
The bi-weekly case rate for Northern St. Louis County has increased from 1.24 last week to 8.67 this week and is expected to increase again the following week to 12.38. So what does this mean for Ely Public Schools when it comes having our students and staff safely return to school this fall?
Our plan is to convene our Ely Safe Learning Plan Advisory Council to examine the latest data, along with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Louis County Public Health, and the Minnesota Department of Education.
Input from our council members that include representatives from our employee groups, our health care community, and families will also help us come up with a recommendation on the protocols, including potential use of face coverings, that we may use to open the school year. The good news is that vaccination rates are increasing and some health officials are seeing the rise in cases as a temporary spike as long as people continue to get vaccinated. With this changing landscape I am not expecting to have an announcement on Covid-19 safety protocols for the opening of school until Aug. 23. School starts Sept. 7.
In the meantime, we are preparing for the exciting start to a new school year and working hard to make this a great school year for everyone.
If you have any questions or feedback to provide, please feel free to contact me at:
eerie@ely.k12.mn.us or 218.750.4564