Administrator’s Corner: Community partnerships that help schools manage COVID-19

Published 8:00 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

Administrator’s Corner by Kathy Niebuhr

Albert Lea Area Schools is fortunate to enjoy a wide variety of community partners within the city of Albert Lea and Freeborn County. Those partnerships have become more vital and important during this unprecedented time. As we manage COVID-19 in the schools, we know that we would be much less successful without these organizations (and many others) to rely upon.

Kathy Niebuhr

Our partnership with Freeborn County Public Health has been one of our most valuable relationships during this time. We cannot thank Anita Majerus and Sue Yost enough for all of the support they have provided staff, students and families. They are available 24/7 to answer phone calls and emails from our districtwide COVID-19 team members. And when they don’t know the answers to our questions, they reach out to their vast network of resources to assist us. As we have conducted on-site testing and off-site vaccinations for interested staff, they have streamlined their work and processes. Staff are extremely appreciative of their professionalism and expertise.

To the Family Y who has helped our families on Fridays and throughout the periodic shut-downs with care for students, support for classwork and providing a distribution point for meals, we say thank you.

To Mayo Clinic Health Systems with their support of our families and employees through their COVID-19 testing and helping answer the many questions our families and employees have. I know the nurseline by heart — 507-293-9525 — and am appreciative that I can send both families and employees to that phone number to begin to get their questions answered. And for the many other resources we have been able to gather from MCHS and provide to our employees and families, we are grateful.

To the United Way and all they provide to our community and to our students and families. As we embarked on community distribution of food, Erin Haag has been a great resource. The many supports this organization provides to our community comes back many times over to our schools as we work with families each day and we are grateful.

To the businesses and organizations who have had employees work through quarantines and isolation episodes. We know this has caused some hardships and thank them for taking the long view on these situations. We thank you on behalf of our students, families and staff.

And to the staff on our districtwide COVID-19 team, I say thank you for your diligence and daily work to help provide the safest school environment possible.

Kathy Niebuhr is the executive director of administrative services for Albert Lea Area Schools.