Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published 8:50 pm Friday, August 27, 2021

To the Albert Lea school district’s decision to reimplement masks for sixth through 12th-grade students.

We knew the cases were on the rise in the Albert Lea school district as we’ve watched the updates come out from the Freeborn County Public Health Department every weekday, but we did not realize the number of students on quarantine had grown as much as it had until we saw the update from the district Thursday afternoon. The update stated 290 students were on quarantine and that 36 positive cases had been reported in the first five days of school, many of which are happening at the middle school and high school levels.

The number of cases had risen to 42 on Friday, with 19 of those at Albert Lea High School or the Area Learning Center.

As a result of the rise in cases, Superintendent Mike Funk announced masks would again be required for students at the middle and high school levels during the school day and during indoor activities after school for those not actively participating in athletics.

Though some may be upset about the decision to reimplement masks, the number of positive tests in the last week is evidence that something needs to be changed to restabilize things at the schools.

We would not be surprised if masks will also soon be required at the elementary level as time goes on.

What should be most important to everyone is keeping the students in school, and we hope this measure will help that remain a viable option.

To the decline in reading and math scores of students across the state.

Minnesota Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said it best when she said the recent Minnesota Comprehensive assessment results confirm what we already knew: “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our students’ learning and they need our help to recover.”

The state released the MCA test results Friday to the public, and results showed a significant decline in math and reading test stores at both the local and the state levels.

For the Albert Lea school district, the overall percentage of students who did not meet standards increased by 7% in reading and by 15.3% in math, when compared to 2019.

The pandemic has been a difficult time for students, with the transition to distance learning for several months last year and then some time spent in-person as well. Add on top of that the emotional distress that many felt, and it was a rough year.

Though it is sad to see the decline, we hope that this decline can now be curbed and that instead students and teachers alike will be redetermined to start where they are and change this course. It will take everyone — students, parents, teachers and administration — to make it happen.

We look forward to seeing goals for progress and hearing that growth again take place.

To all of the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.

Congratulations to the 12 new members of the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame who will be inducted during the 2021 ceremony Sept. 25. 

It is fun to read about all the successful athletes Albert Lea has had over the years, and we are glad for the opportunity to recognize them in this way.

We have printed information about eight of the new members thus far, and plan to run information about the remaining four in the Wednesday paper.