Reopening elementary schools
A message from the Superintendent
December 17, 2020
Dear Mounds View Public Schools community,
As you may know, yesterday Governor Walz announced a significant change in the state guidance for operating elementary schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated MN Safe Learning plan prioritizes returning our youngest students to the classroom and allows schools to welcome back students in kindergarten through fifth grade to all-day, every-day, in-person learning in the middle of January. We are pleased we can start to return these students to daily in-person learning for the first time this school year!
Before we can determine when we will be ready to open kindergarten and elementary schools, we must first fully understand the new requirements. Re-opening classrooms to support up to 100% occupancy will require schools to implement an expanded series of updated health and safety measures. It also requires a phased-in “rolling start,” with no more than three grade levels coming back to a building at a time. We are already reviewing these measures to determine what resources will be necessary for implementation, and we are beginning to navigate logistical issues like staffing and transportation.
Making a choice
Our kindergarten and elementary school parents also must fully understand how schools will operate in a new in-person learning model as well as what changes are ahead for those who choose the distance learning model. Early next week, we will send these families detailed information describing what each learning model will look like. We will then ask them to indicate their intent (in-person learning or distance learning), so we can begin to staff appropriately. With this information, we believe that by January 8 we can announce return-to-school dates for our kindergartens and elementary schools.
Distance learning continues
Please remember that all of our students currently remain in distance learning. After our winter break, students will continue in distance learning on January 4 at which time the state is allowing high school and youth sports to begin in-person practices. Because the state is only adjusting its guidance for elementary school students, all Minnesota middle schools and high schools will remain in distance learning until case rates meet the state’s thresholds for reopening. We will continue to work with local and state health officials and the Minnesota Department of Education to understand the conditions under which schools would be allowed to bring back middle and high school students to the classroom.
This pivot for elementary students is yet another example of the ongoing necessary adjustments we anticipated when this year began. Once again, I thank you for your continued support, patience, sacrifice and flexibility.