Administator’s Corner: A safe school year and hope for the coming year

Published 8:00 pm Friday, May 21, 2021

Administrator’s Corner by Mike Funk

A primary aim of Albert Lea Area Schools is to provide a safe, healthy and welcoming environment for our students. As the year comes to a close, I am happy to report we have met the goal of keeping our district safe. The positive COVID cases within Albert Lea Area Schools have been at zero for the past week and a half.  The case count for the district is the lowest since the pandemic started.

Mike Funk

Many people should be credited for our school district’s successful navigation of the pandemic.

I would like to thank our incredible teaching staff at Albert Lea Area Schools for their agility as we adjusted learning models throughout the year. They placed the needs of our students at the forefront as they delivered instruction through multiple formats. 

I would also like to mention the support staff who provided care for our students after school and on Fridays, outside the scope of their regular duties. Thanks to our bus drivers for transporting our students with a mask mandate, and our custodians for keeping our buildings safe.  Thanks to our cooks for providing thousands of free meals to families throughout the year, and in particular the large events over the holidays.

Our school nurses were simply incredible working with families and teachers to identify students who were potentially ill. They also had many hard conversations with parents and guardians regarding the quarantine of a son or daughter.

Families, in some cases, had to go through multiple quarantines throughout the school year, as students missed important events at school or in extracurriculars. Thanks to all of your sacrifices.

Finally, I want to thank our community partners in Freeborn County Public Health and Mayo Clinic Health System.  Public health hosted numerous vaccinations this year for our staff, and Mayo Clinic has set up multiple vaccination clinics for our students.  Without their support, it is doubtful our case count would be this low. 

As we look to the next year, I am frequently asked what the future will hold. I tell people that vaccines have made the most significant difference for our school district, so I encourage everyone who can get one to do so. Our students have faced enough disruption in their lives. Do your part and help us make ’21-’22 a normal year for our kids.   

Mike Funk is superintendent of Albert Lea Area Schools.